18 Great Jobs For Retirees for Flexibility and Extra Cash

But true personal shoppers are more likely to purchase clothing and accessories than groceries. A personal shopper often finds items and then sends photos and descriptions to the person who hired them to get approval.

A security guard who does not carry a weapon serves as a presence to discourage inappropriate behavior. While many large businesses like Target or Wal-Mart hire security personnel from a service, small employers such as charitable or service organizations are likely to hire someone who is reliable and gives the appearance of authority.
You are more likely to work on an hourly wage determined by your experience and amount of work you are required to perform. There are also job firms that provide virtual assistants; you can sign on with them and accept work as it is offered to you.
School bus drivers can earn up to per hour. They have regular hours with the opportunity to earn extra for field trips or outings. Some states require a specific license (a Commercial Drivers License, or CDL, for example) or require you to pass a test to qualify.
Hourly pay for security guards without weapons training is likely to be between and . Night-time security guards are likely to make more than daytime ones.
Plan on some up-front costs, such as a portable bar (if the host doesn’t have one) and basic bar tools. The host is expected to supply the alcohol and mixers. And to protect against possible liability you might want to consider an annual liability policy.

18 Part-time Jobs for Retirees

Many small or civic organizations cannot afford, nor do they truly need, a full-time bookkeeper or accounting service. They are not in it for the money. Often, they are charitable or non-profit organizations. But they need occasional bookkeeping, often with an eye towards tax advantages.
Recent news reports indicate there are many job openings for school bus drivers.
There are no actual nanny or babysitter licenses or certifications in the United States, but many families require that nannies be bonded, which is a guarantee of service. It is a protection against someone failing to show up for work; one such failure forfeits the bond and that area of work is no longer available to that nanny.

1. Substitute Teaching

If you can memorize lots of cocktail recipes, if you have an outgoing personality and a steady hand, and if you’re willing to cut people off if needed, this could be a fit for you. Your best bet might be starting out tending bar for people you know and then building a network of referrals.
Some high-end clothing stores offer personal shopper services as well. These positions might be a little less “personal,” as they might be a one-day relationship. But the concept is the same.
Security guards who carry weapons require special training and weapons licensing, and is an entirely different job pursuit, perhaps not as well-suited to a retirement job.
Many people reach so-called retirement age and are in no way done with being productive. Many continue in freelance jobs and part-time gigs, whether in a brick-and mortar setting, from home, or even outdoors.

2. School Support

A part-time bookkeeper job often requires simple financial recordkeeping or upkeep of other financial records. Part-time bookkeepers are usually former accountants or have experience as a bookkeeper. They may be asked to track invoices, but most companies use financial services for paychecks.
You have a good head for numbers. You are in charge of your own finances, and you perhaps worked in an accounting role at a previous job.

3. Tutoring

While “retirement income’’ or “retirement job” might seem like oxymorons, they are a more reasonable pursuit today than in years past due to advancing life expectancies and improved health among older citizens.
Depending on the particulars of the job, a commercial driver’s license might be required. Different states have different laws regarding licensing for shuttle bus drivers. A different license might be required if the bus holds a certain number of people or is a particular weight. Your state motor vehicle website will tell you what’s required in your state, and any potential employer will know, too.
Freelance bartending doesn’t require bartending school and can earn you good money working at large events or small, private parties. Hourly pay for freelance bartenders can be anywhere from to even before tips.

A senior woman drives a school bus.
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4. School Bus Driver

According to Indeed, the average hourly pay for a freelance writer is a bit over , but you are often paid by assignment or by word, so the pay varies. If you have knowledge in certain topics like science and medicine, the pay can be higher.
As of this writing, Ziprecruiter showed more than 34,000 virtual assistant jobs, suggesting that a virtual assistant could make up to ,000 a year, depending on the work required.
Pay is often dependent on the age of the players and the competitive level of the organization, but officials are likely to make at least per game. At higher levels where certification is required, you can earn 0 per game.

5. Shuttle Bus Driver

There are dozens of different types of shuttle bus driver jobs. Most hotels have shuttles to and from airports. Senior citizen homes, churches and community centers often offer shuttles to shopping areas or grocery stores. Hourly pay for shuttle bus drivers can average above per hour, and that’s not including tips from satisfied riders. Like school bus drivers, shuttle bus drivers have regular hours.
Source: thepennyhoarder.com

6. Conducting Tours

Most of the examples here require your physical presence on-site, but there are remote jobs, too, such as virtual assistant and customer service work that can be done from the comfort of your home.
Child care might be a bit of a political football these days, but rarely has it been more necessary. Single parents or two-parent families that require or want two incomes are likely to need child care, and that could take the form of a nanny or frequent babysitter.
These positions can be part- or full-time, and they pay well. So if you plan to collect Social Security benefits, make sure to check how your wage impacts your benefits.
Many seasonal jobs are defined by the weather, which is defined by the time of year and the climate where you live. Seasonal jobs are popular, never go out of style (except when the season changes), and can actually be a fun job to look forward to.
Most school districts have lenient requirements for substitute teachers, often requiring just a bachelor’s degree with no teaching experience.
Craigslist or neighborhood job sites are great ways to search for these positions, but your best bet is to work with your personal network. Let people know that you would be willing to work as a nanny or frequent babysitter, and, with the proper recommendation, you could have a very gratifying retirement job.

7. Patient Advocate

The job of a patient advocate is to assist someone who is struggling to cope with the healthcare system. A patient advocate deals with paperwork and appointments, and communicates with healthcare providers to get information on diagnosis, treatment and followup procedures.
As such, typical hourly pay is as a call center representative.
Personal shoppers who go after groceries or staples are likely to make typical hourly pay of to . Those who work for a service are likely on a wage or salary determined by the service rather than by the client.
Being a patient advocate does not require any particular educational degree, but it is possible to become certified in this role.

An elderly man babysits two girls. He plays guitar on the couch while the two of them listen to him play.
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8. Child Care Provider

The job is likely to include more than just driving, however. You may be asked to supervise students on the bus, and you may be called upon to discipline rowdy students or those who are making the trip unsafe. A tolerance for children of all ages is probably an important requirement.
If you have an advance degree, you may also qualify to be an adjunct instructor at a community college or four-year university.
Kent McDill is a veteran journalist who has specialized in personal finance topics since 2013. He is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.
Virtual assistants are independent contractors who offer business services virtually. Those services can include website management, website design, marketing assistance, social media postings, blog writing, email correspondence or any number of clerical duties that can be carried out with a computer and phone. This kind of work is often well-suited to flexible hours.
For between and an hour, you can earn money pet-sitting in a home or, if the pet happens to be a dog, you can walk the animal. Pet-sitting is a good job for retirees who want to work outdoors without a lot of physical requirements other than being able to walk while pulling or being pulled.
While there are occasional situations where someone needs a one-off writing assignment, freelance writer jobs often offer consistent, if sporadic, work. A retiree who can write could have a client for years. Check out this Penny Hoarder article on 18 places hiring freelance writers.

Looking for a fun part-time side gig? Here’s how you can earn money visiting theme parks as a Disney nanny.

9. Virtual Assistant

Any task that can be done virtually via computer is likely to be requested by a virtual assistant. Firms would rather pay a freelancer than an employee to do the work.
Pet sitter/walker is also a good line of work to get into because one job can lead to another. Pet owners tend to concentrate around each other, and they will give recommendations to other pet owners about a reliable person who can watch Fido or Fluffy while they are on vacation.
Ski resorts in the winter and water parks in the summer are two great examples of places that require seasonal employees. It is not necessary to be a ski instructor or a lifeguard, either. These places require assistance in areas outside of their main purpose: security, transportation, customer service. Even the National Park Service hires seasonal temps.
Businesses, organizations and sites that host tours come in many shapes and sizes, from historical sites to museums, from outdoor walking tours to behind-the-scene workplace tours. They can be an everyday part of a business or scheduled by appointment. What they all have in common? A tour leader.

10. Bookkeeper

The Penny Hoarder’s Work-From-Home Jobs Portal makes the remote-job hunt easy. Our journalists scour the web for the best gigs, vet the companies and aggregate the latest listings in one place.
Nannies are likely to make an hour on average. Babysitter earnings vary widely by affluence of the neighborhood. Check out The Penny Hoarder’s tips on how to get paid up to an hour babysitting.
While high-level programs require officials to get licensed or certified, lower-level and youth group programs require just a basic knowledge of the rules. Look around your community for sports leagues in need of umpires or referees.
A babysitter sits in a home with a child or children. A nanny is responsible for getting children to day care or other activities; they are a substitute parent in many cases.

11. Umpire and Referee

If you are going to house-sit the animal, you will likely get paid more for also keeping an eye on the property while the owner is away.
Substitute teachers have never been more valuable than today. Covid has increased the chances that a teacher might be out of the classroom either awaiting test results or recuperating. When that happens, their students need someone to teach — and that could be you.
Although freelance writers no longer provide articles — it’s called content now — freelance writing is a gig that can offer the freedom to accept the assignments you want. There are firms that will connect freelance writers to people or companies in need of blogs, resumes, cover letters, marketing content and more.
This is a good job for retirees who do not mind a bit of boredom.

A man walks a gaggle of dogs at his dog walking job.
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12. Pet Sitter and Dog Walker

If you are interested in online tutoring, there are many good paying gigs out there. Match your skills to the openings.
So let’s get to work, shall we?
To be successful, you need to be ready to deal with a room full of 20 or so children of varying ages. But it could pay off. School districts in Chicago, for example, pay as much as 0 a day for a full day of work.
This is a classic retirement job that gets you out of the house, allows you to have contact with neighbors, and lets you provide security and safety with another set of adult eyes on the children.

13. Freelance Writer

These jobs require knowledge about the subject and the ability to tell a good story — often while walking backwards.
Competitive sports programs need officials for their games. Baseball, basketball, soccer and football all have leagues at various ages that need officiating. Depending on where you live, the work can be constant. If you get certified for multiple sports, you can work all weekend long and often during the week.
Some stores hold hiring events in October to fill these positions, but they often continue searching for employees throughout the final three months of the year.
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14. Call Center Worker

Most schools are always looking for crossing guards, recess supervisors and other positions. A call to your local elementary, middle or high school could lead you to a good retirement job that would fit your schedule. Even better is searching online for jobs at your school district. This will give you a range of what’s out there.
Who even knows what “retired’’ means anymore?
This is a perfect retirement job if you have a sports background and the ability to withstand criticism.

A senior citizen bartender holds up a pint of beer.
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15. Freelance Bartender

Another idea for animal lovers is pet transporting. If you’ve got a reliable set of wheels and like to drive, getting pets from here to there from owners, maybe be the side gig for you.
Taking classes in CPR or other emergency response techniques, which offer certifications upon completion, can improve your chances of being hired.
Is it the shopping or the buying that you enjoy? If it’s the shopping, then you might consider becoming someone’s personal shopper.

16. Personal Shopper

As much as this is a remote job, it is definitely a people-person retirement job. You are likely to be talking to someone who is upset or unhappy, and you are the first line of communication for the company you are representing. You need to be capable of being friendly and helpful in the face of unpleasant conversation.
Tour guide is one of those jobs that, when you see someone doing it, you think, “Well, I could do that too!”
To be a personal grocery shopper, you probably need only have been in a grocery store from time to time. To be a high-end personal shopper, a knowledge of the fashion industry and current fashions is going to get you better clients.
Remember when you had a summer job as a teenager or a part-time job during your winter break from college? The same logic can work when you’re thinking about some extra retirement income.
The job title describes the job. You are given a shopping list and the means to make the purchase, and you chase after the items.
The responsibilities of a security guard depend on the needs of the company being guarded. There may be requirements that go beyond just being a presence, but the differences depend on the needs of the company.
As you browse these possible jobs for retirees, keep in mind one warning: If you are collecting Social Security, you can only earn a certain amount each month before your benefits are reduced.

Got what it takes to be a mystery shopper? We’ve rounded up four companies that are hiring retail sleuths. 

17. Security Guard

There are hundreds of tutoring companies in the U.S. who work with kids of all ages to enhance their school education or prepare for college entrance exams. If you sign up with one, they’ll match you with work and you won’t need to market yourself as a tutor.
You might have left the career you had in the 40-hour-a-week workforce. But now you don’t exactly want to be glued to your couch watching puppy videos. You want to be active, you want to work, and you want to make a little money to support your fun retirement plans.
Also included in seasonal work are holiday positions during the months of October-December. On-site customer service, truck unloading, shelving of new goods, and custodial services are among the positions for which big box stores are likely to need employees. For example in 2021, we tallied more than 1 million seasonal jobs at national retailers and delivery services.
The average salary for a part-time bookkeeper is around per hour.
This could be a dream job for someone who knows the topic well and likes to retell stories about history, natural science or architecture (among many other possibilities).

18. Seasonal Worker

The hourly pay for these companies ranges from about to . Requirements often are limited to a bachelor’s degree, although exam-prep work might require a recent ACT or SAT test score, or might require you to retake the exam for verbal or math instruction.
Tour guides make an average base salary of per hour. Plus, they are often offered tips by tour participants.
Certainly, many people already have personal shoppers and don’t know it. When they contact a grocery store and provide an itemized list of goods they want, someone does the “shopping,” and the items are then delivered.
If this appeals to you, don’t overlook a special area of knowledge you’ve developed during all those years in the workplace. Know a lot about the manufacturing industry? Maybe you’re just the person to lead tours at a cheese factory.
Writing skills rarely diminish, but the requirements for writing change over time. A knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO) is going to open more doors. Many jobs that use job search websites like Indeed ask for candidates to take a writing test, but many of those are simple grammar or proofreading tests.

Pro Tip
There are plenty of ways to bring in some extra money to augment pension, social security, or other retirement funds. We’ve rounded up 18 ideas for good jobs for retirees that offer part-time opportunities, flexible hours, or both.

Just to be clear, we are talking about taking calls from customers, not making calls. A call center representative answers incoming calls from customers or potential customers and either answers questions or sends the caller to someone else who can answer.
Advocates might also be asked to work with insurance companies to understand coverage and costs. Many are asked to help a client obtain assistance with financial or legal issues. The range of duties can be as varied as the patient’s needs.

Commodities Trading Guide for Beginners

Investing in commodities — e.g. agricultural products, energy, and metals — can be profitable if you understand how the commodity markets work. Commodities trading is generally viewed as high risk, since the commodities markets can fluctuate dramatically owing to factors that are difficult to foresee (like weather) but influence supply and demand.

Nonetheless, commodity trading can be useful for diversification because commodities tend to have a low or even a negative correlation with asset classes like stocks and bonds.

Commodities fall firmly in the category of alternative investments, and thus they may be better suited to some investors than others. Getting familiar with commodity trading basics can help investors manage risk vs. reward.

What Is Commodities Trading?

Commodity trading simply means buying and selling a commodity on the open market. Commodities are raw materials that have a tangible economic value. For example, agricultural commodities include products like soybeans, wheat, and cotton. These, along with gold, silver, and other precious metals, are examples of physical commodities.

There are different ways commodity trading can work. Investing in commodities can involve trading futures, options trading, or investing in commodity-related stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, or index funds. Different investments offer different strategies, risks, and potential costs that investors need to weigh before deciding how to invest in commodities.

Unique Traits of the Commodities Market

The commodities market is unique in that market prices are driven largely by supply and demand, less by market forces or events in the news. When supply for a particular commodity such as soybeans is low — perhaps owing to a drought — and demand for it is high, that typically results in upward price movements.

And when there’s an oversupply of a commodity such as oil, for example, and low demand owing to a warmer winter in some areas, that might send oil prices down.

Likewise, global economic development and technological innovations can cause a sudden shift in the demand for certain commodities like steel or gas or even certain agricultural products like sugar.

Thus, investing in commodities can be riskier because they’re susceptible to volatility based on factors that can be hard to anticipate. For example, a change in weather patterns can impact crop yields, or sudden demand for a new consumer product can drive up the price of a certain metal required to make that product.

Even a relatively stable commodity such as gold can be affected by rising or falling interest rates, or changes in the value of the U.S. dollar.

In the case of any commodity, it’s important to remember that you’re often dealing with tangible, raw materials that typically don’t behave the way other investments or markets tend to.

Commodity vs Stock Trading

Take stocks vs. commodities. The main difference in stock trading vs commodity trading lies in what’s being traded. When trading stocks, you’re trading ownership shares in a particular company. If you’re trading commodities, you’re trading the physical goods that those companies may use.

There’s also a difference in where you trade commodities vs. stocks. Stocks are traded on a stock exchange, such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) or Nasdaq. Commodities and commodities futures are traded on a commodities exchange, such as the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYME) or the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).

That said, and we’ll explore this more later in this guide, it’s possible to invest in commodities via certain stocks in companies that are active in those industries.

Types of Commodities

Commodities are grouped together as an asset class but there are different types of commodities you may choose to invest in. There are two main categories of commodities: Hard commodities and soft commodities. Hard commodities are typically extracted from natural resources while soft commodities are grown or produced.

Agricultural Commodities

Agricultural commodities are soft commodities that are produced by farmers. Examples of agricultural commodities include rice, wheat, barley, oats, oranges, coffee beans, cotton, sugar, and cocoa. Lumber can also be included in the agricultural commodities category.

Needless to say, this sector is heavily dependent on seasonal changes, weather patterns, and climate conditions. Other factors may also come into play, like a virus that impacts cattle or pork. Population growth or decline in a certain area can likewise influence investment opportunities, if demand for certain products rises or falls.

Livestock and Meat Commodities

Livestock and meat are given their own category in the commodity market. Examples of livestock and meat commodities include pork bellies, live cattle, poultry, live hogs, and feeder cattle. These are also considered soft commodities.

You may not think that seasonal factors or weather patterns could affect this market, but livestock and the steady production of meat requires the steady consumption of feed, typically based on corn or grain. Thus, this is another sector that can be vulnerable in unexpected ways.

Energy Commodities

Energy commodities are hard commodities. Examples of energy commodities include crude oil, natural gas, heating oil or propane, and products manufactured from petroleum, such as gasoline.

Here, investors need to be aware of certain economic and political factors that could influence oil and gas production, like a change in policy from OPEC (the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries). New technology that supports alternative or green energy sources can also have a big impact on commodity prices in the energy sector.

Precious Metals and Industrial Metals

Metals commodities are also hard commodities. Types of metal commodities include precious metals such as gold, silver, and platinum. Industrial metals such as steel, copper, zinc, iron, and lead would also fit into this category.

Investors should be aware of factors like inflation, which might push people to buy precious metals as a hedge.

How to Invest in Commodities

If you’re interested in how to trade commodities, there are different ways to go about it. It’s important to understand the risk involved, as well as your objectives. You can use that as a guideline for determining how much of your portfolio to dedicate to commodity trading, and which of the following strategies to consider.

Recommended: What Is Asset Allocation?

Trading Stocks in Commodities

If you’re already familiar with stock trading, purchasing shares of companies that have a commodities connection could be the simplest way to start investing.

For example, if you’re interested in gaining exposure to agricultural commodities or livestock and meat commodities, you may buy shares in companies that belong to the biotech, pesticide, or meat production industries.

Or, you might consider purchasing oil stocks or mining stocks if you’re more interested in the energy stocks and precious or industrial metals commodities markets.

Trading commodities stocks is the same as trading shares of any other stock. The difference is that you’re specifically targeting companies that are related to the commodities markets in some way. This requires understanding both the potential of the company, as well as the potential impact of fluctuations in the underlying commodity.

You can trade commodities stocks on margin for even more purchasing power. This means borrowing money from your brokerage to trade, which you must repay. This could result in bigger profits, though a drop in stock prices could trigger a margin call.

Futures Trading in Commodities

A futures contract represents an agreement to buy or sell a certain commodity at a specific price at a future date. The producers of raw materials make commodities futures contracts available for trade to investors.

So, for example, an orange grower might sell a futures contract agreeing to sell a certain amount of their crop for a set price. A company that sells orange juice could then buy that contract to purchase those oranges for production at that price.

This type of futures trading involves the exchange of physical commodities or raw materials. For the everyday investor, futures trading in commodities typically doesn’t mean you plan to take delivery of two tons of coffee beans or 4,000 bushels of corn. Instead, you buy a futures contract with the intention of selling it before it expires.

Futures trading in commodities is speculative, as investors are making educated guesses about which way a commodity’s price will move at some point in the future. Similar to trading commodities stocks, commodities futures can also be traded on margin. But again, this could mean taking more risk if the price of a commodity doesn’t move the way you expect it to.

Trading ETFs in Commodities

Commodity ETFs (or exchange-traded funds) can simplify commodities trading. When you purchase a commodity ETF you’re buying a basket of securities. These can target a picture type of commodities, such as metals or energy, or offer exposure to a broad cross-section of the commodities market.

A commodity ETF can offer simplified diversification though it’s important to understand what you own. For example, a commodities ETF that includes options or commodities futures contracts may carry a higher degree of risk compared to an ETF that includes commodities companies, such as oil and gas companies, or food producers.

Recommended: How to Trade ETFs

Investing in Mutual and Index Funds in Commodities

Mutual funds and index funds offer another entry point to commodities investing. Like ETFs, mutual funds and index funds can allow you to own a basket of commodities securities for easier diversification. But actively managed mutual funds offer investors access to very different strategies compared with index funds.

Actively managed funds follow an active management strategy, typically led by a portfolio manager who selects individual securities for the fund. So investing in a commodities mutual fund that’s focused on water or corn, for example, could give you exposure to different companies that build technologies or equipment related to water sustainability or corn production.

By contrast, index mutual funds are passive, and simply mirror the performance of a market index.

Even though these funds allow you to invest in a portfolio of different securities, remember that commodities mutual funds and index funds are still speculative, so it’s important to understand the risk profile of the fund’s underlying holdings.

Commodity Pools

A commodity pool is a private pool of money contributed by multiple investors for the purpose of speculating in futures trading, swaps, or options trading. A commodity pool operator (CPO) is the gatekeeper: The CPO is responsible for soliciting investors to join the pool and managing the money that’s invested.

Trading through a commodity pool could give you more purchasing power since multiple investors contribute funds. Investors share in both the profits and the losses, so your ability to make money this way can hinge on the skills and expertise of the CPO. For that reason, it’s important to do the appropriate due diligence. Most CPOs should be registered with the National Futures Association (NFA). You can check a CPO’s registration status and background using the NFA website.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Commodity Trading

Investing in commodities has its pros and cons like anything else, and they’re not necessarily right for every investor. If you’ve never traded commodities before it’s important to understand what’s good — and potentially not so good — about this market.

Advantages of Commodity Trading

Commodities can add diversification to a portfolio which can help with risk management. Since commodities have low correlation to the price movements of traditional asset classes like stocks and bonds they may be more insulated from the stock volatility that can affect those markets.

Supply and demand, not market conditions, drive commodities prices which can help make them resilient throughout a changing business cycle.

Trading commodities can also help investors hedge against rising inflation. Commodity prices and inflation move together. So if consumer prices are rising commodity prices follow suit. If you invest in commodities, that can help your returns keep pace with inflation so there’s less erosion of your purchasing power.

Disadvantages of Commodity Trading

The biggest downside associated with commodities trading is that it’s high risk. Changes in supply and demand can dramatically affect pricing in the commodity market which can directly impact your returns. That means commodities that only seem to go up and up in price can also come crashing back down in a relatively short time frame.

There is also a risk inherent to commodities trading, which is the possibility of ending up with a delivery of the physical commodity itself if you don’t close out the position. You could also be on the hook to sell the commodity.

Aside from that, commodities don’t offer any benefits in terms of dividend or interest payments. While you could generate dividend income with stocks or interest income from bonds, your ability to make money with commodities is based solely on buying them low and selling high.

The Takeaway

Commodities trading could be lucrative but it’s important to understand what kind of risk it entails. Commodities trading is a high-risk strategy so it may work better for investors who have a greater comfort with risk, versus those who are more conservative. Thinking through your risk tolerance, risk capacity, and timeline for investing can help you decide whether it makes sense to invest in commodities.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to invest in commodities, including futures and options (which are a bit more complex), as well as stocks, ETFs, mutual and index funds — securities that may be more familiar. To explore some ways you might invest in commodities, open an online brokerage account with SoFi Invest®. And remember: SoFi members have access to complimentary financial advice from a professional.

Photo credit: iStock/FlamingoImages

SoFi Invest®
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals and risk profile. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . SoFi Invest refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.
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3) Cryptocurrency is offered by SoFi Digital Assets, LLC, a FinCEN registered Money Service Business.

For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above, including state licensure of Sofi Digital Assets, LLC, please visit www.sofi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform. Information related to lending products contained herein should not be construed as an offer or pre-qualification for any loan product offered by SoFi Lending Corp and/or its affiliates.
Options involve risks, including substantial risk of loss and the possibility an investor may lose the entire amount invested in a short period of time. Before an investor begins trading options they should familiarize themselves with the Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options . Tax considerations with options transactions are unique, investors should consult with their tax advisor to understand the impact to their taxes.
Investment Risk: Diversification can help reduce some investment risk. It cannot guarantee profit, or fully protect in a down market.
Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs): Investors should carefully consider the information contained in the prospectus, which contains the Fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other relevant information. You may obtain a prospectus from the Fund company’s website or by email customer service at [email protected] Please read the prospectus carefully prior to investing. Shares of ETFs must be bought and sold at market price, which can vary significantly from the Fund’s net asset value (NAV). Investment returns are subject to market volatility and shares may be worth more or less their original value when redeemed. The diversification of an ETF will not protect against loss. An ETF may not achieve its stated investment objective. Rebalancing and other activities within the fund may be subject to tax consequences.

Source: sofi.com

The Best Places to Live in North Carolina in 2022

The Wright Brothers really set the standard for the southern state of North Carolina. They basically invented modern flight there, and since then, the Tar Heel State has totally taken off, if in a slightly different way.

North Carolina is a “best of all worlds” sort of scenario. Within its borders are the Coastal Plain, the Appalachian Mountains and the Piedmont regions. Longing for unspoiled tidepools? North Carolina has ’em. Majestic mountains, perfect for hiking, cycling or just good old-fashioned staring? There are plenty of those to enjoy, too. No matter what you’re looking for, North Carolina has a city to fit the bill. The icing on the cake is that it’s still pretty affordable, compared with some other parts of the country.

Let’s start learning about the Old North State, already!

Apex, NC

Apex, NC

  • Population: 59,300
  • 1-BR median rent: $1,289
  • 2-BR median rent: $1,329
  • Median home price: $553,255
  • Median household income: $111,435
  • Walk Score: 20/100

Just north of Holly Springs is the suburb of Apex, which has changed a ton since its 1850s-era days as a small railroad hub. Pretty much since that time, the people of Apex have been hell-bent on preserving the town’s charm and historic significance. It must have worked, as it was named the No. 1 Best Places to Live in America by Money magazine in 2016.

Apex offers people local to Research Triangle all the access they need to the employers, universities and such, but with quieter home life. Apex’s newly renovated downtown features the Halle Cultural Arts Center, located in the historic Town Hall. In fact, the downtown area as a whole is on the National Register of Historic Places as a prime example of a lovingly maintained railroad town.

Although Apex is experiencing something of a surge in population, the community is determined to maintain its small-town feel. They put on a full slate of events to bring community members together, including Juneteenth, Apex Latino Arts Festival, Apex Music Festival and the Apex Christmas Parade, among others.

Biltmore Estates, Asheville, NC

Biltmore Estates, Asheville, NC

  • Population: 92,870
  • 1-BR median rent: $1,435
  • 2-BR median rent: $1,810
  • Median home price: $420,000
  • Median household income: $49,930
  • Walk Score: 39/100

No write-up would be complete without a mention of Asheville as one of the best places to live in North Carolina. Don’t let the city’s smaller population and low walk score confuse you, however. Asheville is as vibrant as cities come, with a delightfully walkable and enjoyable downtown area to its credit. Artists and one-of-a-kind boutiques liberally pepper this mountain town, so it’s not surprising it’s a draw for creative types, in particular. In fact, it features not one, but two arts districts — the Downtown Art District and the River Arts District.

Asheville is also renowned for its foodie scene, lovingly referred to by locals as “Foodtopia.” With a special emphasis on breweries, Asheville has more breweries per capita than anywhere else in the U.S. Local restaurants range from walk-up to fine dining, many with authentic Appalachian cuisine on the menu.

Located in the western part of the state in the Blue Ridge Mountains, people who visit or dwell in Asheville no doubt appreciate access to world-class architectural gems like the incredible Biltmore estate and the Basilica of Saint Lawrence.

Charlotte, NC

Charlotte, NC

  • Population: 885,708
  • 1-BR median rent: $1,382
  • 2-BR median rent: $1,642
  • Median home price: $353,000
  • Median household income: $62,817
  • Walk Score: 31/100

Just over the state line from South Carolina is North Carolina’s largest city, population-wise. Known as the “Queen City,” people flock from all over to live in Charlotte. The affordable cost of living, delightfully mild climate and diverse workplace options are generally among the main reasons people want to call this city home. However, once they arrive and get used to the amenities, it’s tough to go anywhere else, which is probably why it’s listed at or near the top of the country’s fastest-growing cities year after year.

Among its selling points, Charlotte is about as green as a city gets, with 174 miles worth of bike and pedestrian-friendly paths to enjoy. In fact, American Forests has named it a top 10 city for urban forests. This family-friendly city is also home to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, as well as the U.S. National Whitewater Center, where people can enjoy everything from guided whitewater tours to kayaking lessons. A melting pot city in its own right, Charlotte’s foodie scene includes cuisine of all kinds, especially Indian, Greek and Asian options. The breweries in Charlotte are also top-notch.

Greensboro, NC

Greensboro, NC

  • Population: 296,710
  • 1-BR median rent: $793
  • 2-BR median rent: $912
  • Median home price: $230,000
  • Median household income: $48,964
  • Walk Score: 34/100

It’s hard to find a more beautiful area than Greensboro, which has the Smoky Mountains to the West and the Blue Ridge Mountains to the east. Indeed, many people choose to call Greensboro home because of its quiet, country way of life. The affordability factor doesn’t hurt, either, as a one-bedroom unit in Greensboro is only $782 per month!

Part of the “Piedmont Triad” (along with High Point and Winston-Salem), Greensboro is likely one of the next big spots in North Carolina. It has so much going for it, including a low cost of living, as well as distinct seasons (but with nice, mild winters).

Although Greensboro is less developed than some of the other cities on this list of the best places to live in North Carolina, it still has plenty to do and see. Among the sights are the International Civil Rights Center & Museum, the Greensboro Science Center and the Greensboro History Museum. The downtown area is also a hotspot for people looking to enjoy good food and a good time.

Greenville, NC

Greenville, NC

  • Population: 93,400
  • 1-BR median rent: $700
  • 2-BR median rent: $1,195
  • Median home price: $260,000
  • Median household income: $40,875
  • Walk Score: 36/100

Next on our list of the best cities to live in North Carolina is the Inner Banks community of Greenville. Home to East Carolina University, it’s no surprise that apartments in Greenville are more affordable than in many larger, more professionally-focused cities. Still, there’s plenty for people of all ages and persuasions to do in Greenville.

For example, proximity to eastern North Carolina’s waterways make boating, fishing and water-skiing beloved pastimes. It’s also a bird-watching mecca, especially at the local Goose Creek State Park.

In terms of nightlife, the Uptown District, located right on the banks of the Tar River, has dozens of unique, locally-owned and operated eateries, breweries and so on. The Greenville Town Common is also ultra-popular, thanks to its full schedule of concerts, festivals and events that happen all throughout the year.

High Point, NC

High Point, NC

  • Population: 112,791
  • 1-BR median rent: $976
  • 2-BR median rent: $1,134
  • Median home price: $225,000
  • Median household income: $47,234
  • Walk Score: 25/100

The centrally located city of High Point is one of the healthcare and banking hotspots of North Carolina, even though it started out as a critical railroad hub. Today, it’s beloved for its many furniture stores, earning it the nickname, the “Home Furnishings Capital of the World.” In fact, people come from all over to get great deals on high-quality pieces for the home. The world’s largest home furnishings trade show, High Point Market, is not surprisingly held there.

Families love to live in High Point thanks in large part to its active outdoorsy community and excellent school system. Anyone can easily continue their educational path in High Point or elsewhere in the Piedmont Triad, thanks to the 16 local colleges and universities. There are dozens of public parks, stacked with walking, biking and pet-friendly trails, not to mention a huge sporting community for kiddos and adults alike.

Holly Springs, NC

Holly Springs, NC

  • Population: 37,812
  • 1-BR median rent: $1,372
  • 2-BR median rent: $1,667
  • Median home price: $534,000
  • Median household income: $112,029
  • Walk Score: 24/100

Not too far south of the Research Triangle is the comparatively small suburb of Holly Springs. The upside to this area is that it’s quiet, charming and beautiful. However, home prices and income levels are higher in Holly Springs than in many other parts of North Carolina.

The area really revs up in a family-friendly way once a year during HollyFest, a festival held in the fall every year and attended by people from all over. It includes a cornhole tournament, a pig race, pumpkin carving contest and many other seasonal favorite activities.

Holly Springs is growing by leaps and bounds, which is something that the state clearly expects to continue. In recent years, the city has put a hundred million dollars or so into the parks and infrastructure in preparation for an impending population boom.

Raleigh, NC

Raleigh, NC

  • Population: 474,069
  • 1-BR median rent: $1,360
  • 2-BR median rent: $1,607
  • Median home price: $376,000
  • Median household income: $67,266
  • Walk Score: 33/100

Raleigh is one-third of the state’s prized jewel, the Research Triangle. In concert with the nearby cities of Chapel Hill and Durham, the area is a hub of all things research, thanks to the presence of three major universities (Duke, North Carolina State and the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill). As a result, Raleigh is a popular home to academics of all persuasions, and, of course, students.

No matter your occupation, Raleigh and its surrounding areas are likely to have opportunities galore. The Triangle in total boasts more than 7,000 companies across a variety of industries like technology, manufacturing, ag-tech, life sciences and many more.

But life in Raleigh is about more than just work and study. It’s also a pretty nice place to hang your hat at night and boasts a thriving, diverse cultural scene and almost too many breweries to count. Smack in the middle of the state, Raleigh residents also enjoy easy, scenery-rich drives to both the coast and the mountainous regions.

Wilmington, NC

Wilmington, NC

  • Population: 123,744
  • 1-BR median rent: $1,409
  • 2-BR median rent: $1,567
  • Median home price: N/A
  • Median household income: $47,580
  • Walk Score: 37/100

Coastal access is one of the main reasons that people love this mild-weathered North Carolina community. As an added bonus, considering the location, apartments in Wilmington are downright affordable! Indeed, it’s the ideal place for people who appreciate the water and all of the fishing, boating and other recreational opportunities it provides.

It’s not just the vast Atlantic Ocean, either. The Cape Fear River is hugely popular among locals and vacationers alike, and its café, boutique and nightlife-rich Riverwalk is a must-see, as it was voted America’s Best Riverfront.

Wilmington is also steeped in historic significance, which is probably why so many movies and television shows film there. It’s tough to recreate the natural beauty and authenticity that Wilmington offers! The 230-block National Register Historic District features lovingly preserved live oak trees and architectural gems that harken back to the area’s earlier days. Picturesque doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Winton-Salem, NC

Winton-Salem, NC

  • Population: 247,945
  • 1-BR median rent: $925
  • 2-BR median rent: $1,110
  • Median home price: $239,450
  • Median household income: $45,750
  • Walk Score: 28/100

Winston-Salem, more commonly known as Winston, is growing more slowly than some other North Carolina cities. As a result, it’s one of the more affordable cities in the state on our list of the best places to live in North Carolina.

Winston’s thoughtful, intentional growth includes lots of international residents, particularly those of Indian and Greek descent. So, it’s not surprising that a number of festivals celebrating those cultures are held every year in the area. There are plenty of other festivals to enjoy, as well, from the Gears & Guitars event to the Bookmarks Festival of Books and Authors.

Apartments in Winston-Salem range from standard to fully unique. In fact, it’s not unusual to find a space that’s been renovated from a tobacco factory into gorgeous lofts. Some of the crown jewels of the area are Wake Forest University, Salem Lake and Quarry Park, which is 228 acres of sheer outdoor beauty.

Take your pick

It’s just about impossible to pick the wrong place to live in North Carolina. Fortunately, for even the choosiest renter, there are plenty of apartments for rent in North Carolina. So, pick a city (or two) and start looking around for a place in the state that’s equal parts Southern gentility and diverse progressiveness.

The rent information included in this summary is based on a median calculation of multifamily rental property inventory on Apartment Guide and Rent.com as of December 2021.
Median home prices are from Redfin as of December 2021.
Population and median household income are from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The information in this article is for illustrative purposes only. This data herein does not constitute a pricing guarantee or financial advice related to the rental market.



Source: apartmentguide.com

6 Retail Stores That Offer Price Match Guarantees and Adjustment Policies

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Major chain retailers offer price-matching policies to attract more shoppers. That allows their customers to save both money and time. Instead of running around town for the best deals, you can go to one store and get the best price on everything.

That’s the theory, at least. In real life, it isn’t always so simple. Each store has different rules about when it will match prices. Often, the lower price you found at some other store doesn’t qualify for a match because of some obscure gotcha rule.

To save money with price matching, you need to know the store’s rules, including the hidden traps and exceptions. Learning about each store’s policies can help you determine when it’s worth asking for a match and which stores are most likely to give it to you.

Retail Stores That Offer Price Match Guarantees

Comparison shopping used to mean going to different stores to check prices, potentially going back to the store where you found the best rate. That took a lot of time and didn’t make sense for something small, like a pound of ground beef.

Today, you can save hundreds of dollars with little effort. Some stores allow you to show the lower price offer at the register, and they’ll match it. But which ones offer the best price-matching policies? 

1. Walmart

Walmart Price Match Guarantees

Walmart’s price-matching policy is much less generous than it used to be. In a 2013 TV commercial, a Walmart clerk assured a shopper who had found a lower price the store would “match it right at the register.” 

But as of 2021, Walmart only promises to match its own website pricing.

How the Policy Works

Walmart’s official price-match policy states that if you find a product in a Walmart store that’s cheaper on Walmart.com (or Jet.com, which Walmart owns), the store will match the online price — probably. 

You can ask for a price match at the register, but the store may choose not to grant it. The policy specifies that “the manager on duty has the final decision” about whether a particular store allows price matching.

What to Watch Out For

As limiting as Walmart’s in-store price-matching policy is, it still has a long list of rules and exceptions. The policy specifically says you can’t get a price match for:

  • A Similar Product. The store will only match the price of a product if it’s identical in every way to the one you’re buying. It has to be the same brand, model, size, and color.
  • Two of the Same Product. Each customer can only get one price match per day on a given product. You can match prices on raisin bran and dog food in the same order, but not on two boxes of raisin bran. (Doesn’t apply in New Mexico as long as you’re not a reseller.)
  • Sold-Out Walmart.com Merchandise. If the site runs out of the product you’re trying to match, you’re out of luck. You can only get a price match on goods in stock on the site at the moment you present the price to the cashier. 
  • Certain Types of Sellers. Walmart doesn’t match prices on Walrmart.com goods sold by third-party sellers known as Walmart Marketplace Retailers. Those product listings say, “Sold and shipped by,” followed by the seller’s name.
  • Certain Types of Sale Prices. Walmart specifically excludes certain special offers from its price-matching policy, including instant or mail-in rebates, financing offers, ads that offer a gift card with a purchase, or bundle offers. It also excludes percentage-off or buy-one, get-one-free deals that don’t show a specific price.
  • Any Item in Certain States. You can’t use online price matching at all in any Walmart store in Alaska, Hawaii, or Puerto Rico. Prices in these areas are higher overall, so stores there won’t match the lower prices offered in the rest of the country.

Bottom Line

The most important thing to know about price matching at Walmart is that the store manager is completely in charge. Some store managers try to work with customers as much as possible. Others simply refuse to allow price matching under any circumstances. To some extent, it’s the luck of the draw.

But it never hurts to ask. The worst the cashier can do is say no. And if that happens, you can always put the product back on the shelf.

2. Target

Target Price Match Guarantees

The price-matching policy at Target is considerably more generous than Walmart’s. It provides in-store price matches for 25 online competitors, including Amazon, Kohls.com, Sears.com, and Walmart.com. You can also match prices when shopping at Target.com, but you must call a toll-free number (800-591-3869) to do so.

Better still, Target’s price-match guarantee doesn’t just cover other chains’ websites. It also includes prices listed in print ads for their local stores. In this case, “local” means any store within 25 miles of the Target where you’re shopping.

How the Policy Works

To get a price match at Target, you must show the ad with the lower price at the checkout. 

If you found the lower price online, you can display the website on your phone. If the lower price is in a local store’s print ad, you must hand over the original ad. A photocopy or picture on your phone isn’t good enough.

Unlike Walmart, Target also matches prices on products you’ve already bought within the past two weeks. 

For example, say you buy a $30 pair of pants at Target on Wednesday. Then, on Friday, you see an ad showing the same pants on sale for $20 at another store. Just take that ad and your receipt to the checkout and ask for a price adjustment. Target will refund the extra $10.

Target also allows you to stack a matched price with a manufacturer coupon. Say you have a coupon for $1 off on two cans of beans, and a local store is selling those beans at two cans for $1. 

You can match the price and then apply your coupon on top of that, getting both cans for free. However, you can’t stack a matched price with a Target store coupon.

What to Watch Out For

Just like Walmart’s, Target’s price-match policy comes with a lot of fine print. Many of the rules for Target are the same ones found at Walmart.

For example, Target only gives price matches on merchandise that’s identical and in stock at both Target and the competing store. 

Most of the sale prices Walmart doesn’t match — including third-party offers, clearance sales, bundle deals, offers that include financing, and rebates — are off-limits at Target as well. It also doesn’t match any price that’s a misprint.  

Additionally, Target excludes price matches on competitors’ store brands and doesn’t match prices at all in Alaska or Hawaii. 

However, unlike Walmart, Target allows you to use the same price match on more than one item. The store only “reserves the right to limit quantities” for each item. 

So if you try to buy every bottle of detergent on the shelf for $1 each, you probably won’t get away with it. But you should have no problem buying two bottles at that price. That’s better than you could do at Walmart, which limits you to one price match per item.

Bottom Line

Target’s price-matching policy is the most generous. It matches competitors’ prices online and in local stores, and it allows you to use the same price match for more than one of the same product. 

Better still, it allows you to adjust prices up to two weeks after purchase. And best of all, price matching is available on all the products Target sells.

If you only have time to go to one store, Target’s probably your best choice when it comes to general retailers. 

3. Best Buy

Best Buy Price Match Guarantees

Unlike Target and Walmart, which sell nearly everything, Best Buy specializes in electronics. 

Because of that, nationwide, it only matches prices for online stores that sell electronics. So while Target matches prices for dozens of online retailers, Best Buy matches prices for only five: Amazon, Crutchfield.com, Dell.com, HP.com, and TigerDirect. 

However, Best Buy also matches prices for local brick-and-mortar retail stores. That includes all retailers within a 25-mile radius, not just those specializing in electronics. As long as the store is authorized to sell new, factory-sealed products with a warranties, it counts as a competitor.

For example, if you want to buy a tablet, and a nearby Walmart is selling it for less than your local Best Buy, Best Buy will match Walmart’s price. Best Buy also promises to match prices offered at warehouse clubs as long as they’re local.

How the Policy Works

Unlike Target and Walmart, you can’t get Best Buy price matching right at the register. You must either approach a salesperson or go to the customer service desk and quote the lower price. 

You can show either a printed ad or a website where you found the lower price. Best Buy employees may double-check the site or call the store to ensure the price is legit.

You can also request price matches for online purchases at BestBuy.com. To do so, either open a chat window or call 888-BEST-BUY (237-8289).

In one way, Best Buy’s price matching is better than either Target’s or Walmart’s. It works in every part of the country, including Alaska and Hawaii. 

Best Buy also offers price matching in Puerto Rico, but its policy there is somewhat different. The terms are posted in the chain’s Puerto Rico stores.

What to Watch Out For

Like Target and Walmart, Best Buy only matches prices for new merchandise, not used or refurbished goods. It also doesn’t match prices for any marketplace or third-party seller.

Like other stores, Best Buy requires the products be identical and in stock at both Best Buy and the competing store. That means the model numbers must match for things like appliances. 

However, it’s important to note that Best Buy often uses its own unique model numbers for appliances and other high-priced merchandise. So even if two products look the same, they can have different numbers, making them ineligible for a price match.

Most sale types that are off-limits for price matching at Target and Walmart are off-limits at Best Buy too. That includes all bundle deals, freebies, mail-in offers, clearance items, and products with the wrong price shown. 

It also includes all Black Friday deals. That means any sale price found during Thanksgiving week, from the Friday before Thanksgiving Day through the Monday after the holiday.

Also, like Walmart, Best Buy only allows you to match a price once for each product you buy. For example, if you find a fitness tracker on sale for $30, you can’t buy one for everybody on your holiday gift list. 

You also can’t stack that $30 matched price with a $10 coupon to get the total price down to $20. You can use the coupon or the price match, but not both for the same product.

Best Buy also has several specific rules you won’t find at other stores. For instance, it doesn’t match prices on anything marked as limited quantity, either at Best Buy or a competing store.

You also can’t get a price match at Best Buy on a cellphone that comes with a contract. Game discounts related to a membership program are also off-limits. Finally, you can’t match prices for services, such as delivery, installation, or computer repair.

Bottom Line

The primary reason to choose Best Buy over other big-box stores is its wide selection of electronics. Any gadget that’s for sale at your local Target or Walmart is likely to be in stock at Best Buy too, so you only have to visit one store to get the best price out of all three.

However, that only works if the model number on the product you’re buying is the same at both stores. Since Best Buy uses store-specific numbers for lots of big-ticket merchandise, you can’t always match prices. 

So if you’re buying something big, it’s probably best to check prices online before you go instead of counting on Best Buy to match the lowest price when you get there.

4. Home Depot

Home Depot Price Match Guarantees

Home Depot has one of the most straightforward price-matching policies around. Basically, if you find a lower price on anything Home Depot sells, it guarantees to match the lower price, period. 

If you’re shopping at HomeDepot.com, it promises to match the price on any competitor’s website, including the shipping cost. This deal applies as long as the product on the competitor’s site is available to ship to your location.

How the Policy Works

To get a price match at Home Depot, display the ad with the lower price when you check out. You can use a printed ad, photo, or printout from the Web. The clerk may contact the other store to ensure it has the product in stock at a price shown.

What to Watch Out For

Unlike most other stores, Home Depot promises to match prices for any other retailer, not those on a specific list. But the fine print shows there are quite a few exceptions. 

For instance, Home Depot doesn’t match prices for third-party sellers or discount sites because it doesn’t consider them competing retailers. It also doesn’t match prices for auction sites or wholesale clubs.

Home Depot limits its price-match policy in many of the same ways as other stores. For instance, it doesn’t offer price matching on any used, reconditioned, or open-box goods. It also excludes deals that include rebates, financing, freebies, bundles, and misprint prices.

On top of that, Home Depot has a few unique rules. It doesn’t offer price matching on any custom or special-order products, such as custom-fitted window blinds. It also doesn’t match other stores’ wholesale pricing or volume discounts.

Finally, like other stores, Home Depot only matches prices on products that are identical down to their model numbers. But like Best Buy, Home Depot has store-specific model numbers for many appliances and some tools. So in some cases, it isn’t possible to get a price match for these larger purchases.

Bottom Line

Home Depot’s policy is better than most as long as your purchase qualifies. For custom orders and big-ticket goods like appliances, price matching doesn’t work. But for everything else, price matching guarantees the lowest price possible in a single stop.

5. Lowe’s

Lowes Price Match Guarantees

Lowe’s price-match guarantee is similar to Home Depot’s. If you find a better price at another store, Lowe’s will match it. And if you’re shopping online, you can call to get a match on the full price of the purchase with shipping. 

How the Policy Works

Getting a price match at a Lowe’s store works pretty much the same as at Home Depot. All you have to do is go to the register and show your ad. 

The ad can be in any format, including a printout, local ad, photo, smartphone display, or app. The store associate will ensure the product meets all Lowe’s criteria before giving you the matching price. The ad you present must be current, and it must be from a local retailer. 

Lowe’s doesn’t define “local” on its website, but a Lowe’s associate I spoke with online says it means a retailer within a 10-mile radius of your store. That’s quite a bit narrower than the 25-mile radius for Target or Best Buy.

Lowe’s also matches prices from certain online sellers. These include: 

  • AceHardware.com
  • Amazon
  • BedBathandBeyond.com
  • BestBuy.com
  • HomeDepot.com
  • JCPenney.com
  • Macys.com
  • Target.com
  • TractorSupply.com
  • Walmart.com
  • Wayfair

However, it doesn’t match the prices of third-party sellers on sites like Amazon and Walmart.com.

What to Watch Out For

Lowe’s policy has similar exceptions to Home Depot’s. It excludes clearance and closeout prices. The store does not match prices for any damaged or discontinued merchandise, seasonal goods, or any special-order product. It also doesn’t match prices for labor.

Unlike Home Depot, Lowe’s says it will only match the price for “reasonable quantities” of a given item. It doesn’t specify what “reasonable” means, so it’s up to the manager to decide. Getting a price match for two of the same product shouldn’t be a problem, but trying to match 20 could be.

A final problem is that, like Home Depot, Lowe’s uses store-specific model numbers for many large items. Therefore, you probably can’t get a price match on a new refrigerator because its model number at Lowe’s won’t match the one at the competing store.

Bottom Line

Overall, Lowe’s price-matching policy isn’t as good as Home Depot’s. It only covers specific online competitors, and it only covers local competitors within a 10-mile radius. If you live in a rural area and Lowe’s is the only home center nearby, you’re likely to be out of luck when it comes to matching prices. 

Also, like many others, Lowe’s policy doesn’t work for many big-ticket items, such as appliances and tools. 

6. Staples

Staples Price Match Guarantees

Staples has a more generous price-matching policy than most. This retailer goes one step beyond matching prices. Its price-match guarantee promises that if you find a lower price, Staples will give you that price plus a discount equal to 10% of the difference.

For example, say a printer costs $150 at Staples, but you find it on sale for $120 at Office Depot. If you show that price at the register, Staples will match the $120 price and deduct 10% of the $30 difference between the two. That brings the final price down to $117.

Staples matches prices for any business that has both a retail store and an online store under the same brand name. 

It also matches prices from Amazon even though it doesn’t have any brick-and-mortar stores. However, that applies only to products both sold and shipped by Amazon. The store doesn’t match prices for Amazon Marketplace sellers.

How the Policy Works

Getting a price match at Staples is as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Find a lower price.
  2. Bring in proof of the lower price, such as a print ad or a website.
  3. Show it to a store associate at the customer service desk.

Staples also offers a 14-day price guarantee on its prices. If you buy a product at Staples and see it available for less at either a Staples store or Staples.com within two weeks, you can go back to the store to get a refund for the difference. 

But that only works for prices at Staples itself. If you find a product you’ve already bought selling for a lower price at a different retailer, you can’t get a refund.

What to Watch Out For

Staples has far fewer rules and exclusions for its price matches than most other stores. The only things you cannot get a price match for are:

  • Services, such as computer repair, virus removal, or printing and marketing
  • Custom print and promotional products
  • Any products from third-party vendors
  • Gift cards
  • Phone cards
  • Postage
  • Apps sold on Staples.com
  • In-store pickup orders
  • Sale prices from special events, such as grand openings or clearance sales
  • Products with a misprinted price

That means everything else you can find in a Staples store is eligible for price matching. That includes nearly any office-supply product you can buy, from a ball-point pen to a new computer. However, you’re limited to one price match per item.

Bottom Line

The Staples price-match guarantee is quite possibly the best price-matching policy available from a large retailer. It means that for any office product, you can be sure you’re getting a price that’s as good as Amazon’s or better, all without having to pay for shipping or wait for delivery. That’s a deal you really can’t beat.

Final Word

Price matching can be a great way to get deals. However, it’s just one of many tools in your smart-shopping kit. Sometimes, it’s the best way to get rock-bottom prices, but not always.

For example, suppose you go to Target for groceries. You see your favorite brand of peanut butter is selling for $5 per jar. That seems high, so you check online and find Walmart is selling the same brand for only $4 per jar. So you figure that by asking for a price match, you can save $1.

But before you do it, check the other jars on the shelf. There may be another brand that’s on sale for only $3 per jar. If you pass up that jar because you assume price matching will give you the best deal, you end up spending $1 more than you need to instead of $1 less.

So before you jump at a price match, remember to keep your eye on the bottom line. Look at all the possible ways to save, such as buying store brands, stacking coupons, or shopping at cheaper stores that aren’t on the price-matching list. Then, you can figure out which one gives you the best deal.

Pro tip: Browser extensions and comparison-shopping apps like Capital One Shopping make buying online easier than ever. If you’re shopping on Amazon, Capital One Shopping searches other retailers to find a better price. 

Capital One Shopping also automatically adds any available coupon codes to your cart at hundreds of participating retailers. Add the free Capital One Shopping browser extension.

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

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Amy Livingston is a freelance writer who can actually answer yes to the question, “And from that you make a living?” She has written about personal finance and shopping strategies for a variety of publications, including ConsumerSearch.com, ShopSmart.com, and the Dollar Stretcher newsletter. She also maintains a personal blog, Ecofrugal Living, on ways to save money and live green at the same time.

Source: moneycrashers.com

21 Best Kirkland Signature Products to Buy at Costco for the Holidays

Many of us are rushing into the holidays hoping to gather with more friends and family than we could last year. This cautious optimism is still shadowed by the uncertainty, once more, brought on by the pandemic.

But if you’re feeling the vibe of the holiday spirit and your Costco membership is good to go, you’ll find the warehouse club chain is fairly undamaged by the supply chain meltdown. The clubs are offering plenty of opps to score holiday goods, from gifts to house-party food and drink, all at bargain rates. In particular, aim for Costco’s Kirkland Signature store-brand items, a wide swath of products that offer the perfect blend of quality and savings for holiday entertaining and gift giving.

After talking to shopping experts and doing our own research, here are 21 great Kirkland Signature products to stock up on for the holidays. One note: Prices may be slightly higher online vs. in-store.

1 of 21

Costco Kirkland Bakery Sheet Cake or Pie

A closeup of a chocolate sheet cakeA closeup of a chocolate sheet cake

We’re still going to be super-cautious about social gatherings this holiday season, as we were in 2020, but there could be carefully planned and social distancing events you may be attending — especially in warmer climates where you can more comfortably do so outdoors. If so, let Costco’s in-store Kirkland Signature Bakery do the baking for you. You’ll save time, especially if you’re not big on tooling away in the kitchen, and you’ll save money, compared to baked goods you might buy at the supermarket.

If you’re having the family or neighbors over for a holiday gathering, check out the custom-made Kirkland Signature half sheet cakes at Costco. They’re amped with two pounds of chocolate or vanilla filling and baked fresh in-store. You can have one freshly made for you for $19.99.

That’s a bargain compared to ordering a sheet cake from supermarket chain Martin’s, where a frozen-then-thawed half sheet cake starts at $30.

Oh, and those store-made Kirkland Signature pies? Splendid. Grab a giant (4.69 pounds) apple pie for $9.99, or a ginormous (3.63 pounds) pumpkin pie for $5.99.

2 of 21

Costco Kirkland Signature Milk Chocolate Almonds

Chocolate-coated almonds in glass bowl Chocolate-coated almonds in glass bowl

There’s no such thing as “too many” chocolates or nuts around for snacking at the holidays, and Kirkland Signature Milk Chocolate Almonds are a winning twofer, says Trae Bodge, smart shopping expert at TrueTrae.com.

“Around the holidays, it’s always nice to have some sweet treats around,” says Bodge. “I love these chocolate-covered almonds. They are addictive, so I would suggest only putting out small bowls!”

You’ll go nuts for the price: $12.99 for a three-pound container. That’s a buck less than last year’s price. 

3 of 21

Costco Kirkland Signature Coffee​

High Angle View Of Used Coffee Capsules On Table Against White BackgroundHigh Angle View Of Used Coffee Capsules On Table Against White Background

Coffee partners right nice with those two slices of sheet cake you’re having, along with those chocolate-covered almonds as chasers. And if you know beans about coffee, you know Kirkland Signature’s line of coffees, from ground coffee to K-cups, has a legion of fans. Some of it may even be packaged by that big coffee shop chain that shall remain nameless and is, like Costco, Washington based.

Costco’s Kirkland Signature store brand K-cups for the Keurig line of coffeemakers are a bargain compared to national brands. Boxes of 120 pods of Kirkland Signature medium roast sell for $34.99, or about 29 cents per cup; if it happens to be on sale, as it was when I visited, you can get the same box for $28.99, making your cuppa 24 cents per. Compare that to a box of 100 pods of Newman’s Own organic coffee pods for $36.99, or about 37 cents per pod. Costco has other brands of coffee pods, as well.

DealNews.com consumer analyst Julie Ramhold is a fan of the Kirkland Signature K-cups.

“There are a few varieties to choose from: Pacific Bold, which is a dark roast; Breakfast Blend, which is a light roast; and Medium Roast. There’s also House Decaf, if you want to avoid caffeine,” says Ramhold. “All are organic and as long as you have a K-cup machine, these are great to have on hand, especially if you’ll have guests as they can choose their own flavor. Each box includes 120 K-cups, so you should have plenty to cater to your guests all season long, especially if you opt for a box of each variety.”

Kirkland Signature Columbia Supremo whole bean blend of coffee beans off-loads for $17.99 for three pounds.

Starbucks devotees should try Kirkland Signature House Blend whole bean coffee — “custom-roasted by Starbucks,” Costco’s proud to say — in 40-ounce bags for $12.99. Nearby, a straight-up bag of Starbucks French roast whole bean coffee was selling for $20.99 for a 40-ounce bag.

4 of 21

Costco Kirkland Signature Spiral-cut Ham

spiral ham on table.spiral ham on table.

It’s another holiday tradition: Plattering up the store-baked (you just warm it up), spiral-cut ham.

Some companies have done well just focusing on selling spiral hams (and sides), mostly around the holidays. We’re looking at you, Honey Baked Ham Co.

But could you have guessed it? Kirkland Signature has its own line of spiral-sliced cooked hams as an option for your holiday dining. They sell for $1.99 a pound; you’ll fork out about $20 for a good-sized ham that could serve as many as 16 people. A Martin’s supermarket  in central Virginia was selling Nature’s Promise (Martin’s store brand) spiral-cut hams for $5.99 a pound, $3 more per pound than Costco.

On the Honey Baked Ham website, a nine-pound ham costs $92.99, or about $10 per pound, five times as much as than the Kirkland Signature ham.

5 of 21

Costco Kirkland Signature Maple Syrup

Pancakes poured with maple syrupPancakes poured with maple syrup

Those hearty waffles or fluffy pancakes on Christmas morning are nothing unless they’re floating drowned in maple syrup. Think Costco Kirkland Signature organic maple syrup.

“This is the only syrup I can eat now, whether it be on pancakes, waffles, or French toast,” says Ramhold, consumer analyst at the deals website DealNews.com. “We also use it to make homemade maple whipped cream to eat with pumpkin cobbler at Thanksgiving. Basically, one of these bottles should get you through the holidays no problem, and add excellent flavor to whatever you add it to.”

A 33.8-ounce jug of Kirkland Signature organic maple syrup was selling for $11.99. Kroger was selling a 32-ounce container of NOW Real Food organic maple syrup for $24.99, more than twice the price of the Kirkland Signature brand.

6 of 21

Costco Kirkland Signature Wines, Irish Cream and Liquor

Group of friends having a party at home. Sitting on sofa, dressed fancy. Drinking wine, eating cake, talking and laughing. Evening.Group of friends having a party at home. Sitting on sofa, dressed fancy. Drinking wine, eating cake, talking and laughing. Evening.

Costco is the biggest seller of wine in the U.S., with estimated annual wine sales of $1.8 billion, and the warehouse club’s Kirkland Signature wines are a big reason behind the booming demand. As Annette Alvarez-Peters, who heads Costco’s wine-buying team, told Wine Spectator, “The Costco consumer is very loyal to the [Kirkland Signature] brand. They will always give the item a shot.” And why not? Wine rating websites typically give Kirkland Signature wines high scores in the mid-to-upper 80s out of 100.

One hint for picking especially good Kirkland Signature wines: When you see the Costco brand on the front label, turn the bottle around. You just might find the name of the source winery on the back label. That can tell you a lot about the experience of the wine maker and the quality of the grapes. Alternatively, read reviews online. This Costco-centric wine blog, for one, reviewed plenty of Kirkland Signature wines. In my own taste-testing of whites I found a nice Kirkland Signature Cabernet Sauvignon and a Kirkland Sonoma County chardonnay for $7.99 each. These are big boys, too,1.5 liter bottles, not the typical 750 milliliters for mass retailers’ house wines, including Walmart, with its private label wines called Winemakers Selection, selling for about $5 to $12.99 per bottle, or Aldi, with its Winking Owl varieties, including chardonnay, pinot grigio, shiraz, zinfandel, merlot and cabernet sauvignon, selling for $2.95 a bottle.

Looking for a drinky-poo to toast the holidays? To Kirkland Signature!

Ramhold has her eye on Kirkland Signature Irish Country Cream ($9.89 for a 1.5 liter bottle). “Bailey’s who?” says Ramhold. “This is one of my personal favorites because to me it tastes richer than other Irish creams but also doesn’t have the same burn. That could be a winning or losing point, depending on how you look at it, I guess. For me, it’s a winning one. This is great on its own or for adding to boozy milkshakes for adults. I try to always keep a bottle on hand!”

Oh, and if your Costco has a full-blown liquor store attached to it, you’re in luck.

“If you’re looking to stock your liquor cabinet this holiday, Kirkland booze is fairly well-reviewed and the prices are excellent,” says Bodge. “For example, the Kirkland Signature American vodka is about 40% less than Tito’s, and 70% less than Grey Goose. Tequila can be as low as half the price as the branded competition. If you prefer beer, Kirkland Signature craft beers can be as low as half the price of a fancier brand.” 

Not every Costco warehouse club has a Costco liquor store attached, due to various state laws. But yeah, you can score the wines and that rockin’ Irish cream at most Costcos. I did.

7 of 21

Kirkland Signature Rotisserie Chicken

Close-Up Of Chicken Rotisserie On BarbecueClose-Up Of Chicken Rotisserie On Barbecue

You need great meals fast during the holidays, especially when guests are rolling in or the kids, back from college, have friends in tow. Costco’s got you covered.

The Costco I go to in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley must roast hundreds of chickens a day in its giant rotisserie oven, which is constantly tended by white-coated chicken changers. These Kirkland Signature Rotisserie Chickens are always tasty, and what’s not sold is repurposed in other delicious Costco fresh foods made onsite, including a splendid Kirkland Signature chicken noodle soup. You can also score packages of shredded chicken, great for creating a variety of your own dishes at home (and it freezes well).

The best part: Costco has consistently kept the price of each roasted chicken at $4.99, likely looked at as a loss leader. At a nearby Walmart, a lone roast chicken was selling for $7.67 with nary a rotisserie in sight.

8 of 21

Costco Kirkland Signature Chicken Stock

Chicken bouillon in a bowl and ingredients on wooden kitchen table Chicken bouillon in a bowl and ingredients on wooden kitchen table

For home chefs who do a lot of cooking, Kirkland Signature Organic Chicken Stock is a winner in taste and price. Stock has a long shelf life, and the six quart-size boxes of organic chicken stock you’ll get at Costco cost just $9.99, or about $1.66 per quart, a half-buck less than a year ago. At Kroger, a single quart-size box of Pacific Foods organic chicken stock was selling for $3.40.

For the holidays, says Ramhold, Kirkland Signature Organic Chicken Stock “is a must for making homemade dressing and/or stuffing, as well as soups. It’s good to keep on hand all year long, honestly.”

9 of 21

Costco Kirkland Signature Gift Items

Chocolate in chocolate tray.Chocolate in chocolate tray.

Say you’re that person who loves to give gifts and tips — for the mail carrier, the person who delivers your newspaper, teachers and others on your holiday list, maybe even the dog.

We came across some fine giftables bearing the Kirkland Signature mark, including small boxes of Kirkland Signature peppermint bark with Belgian chocolate ($9.99), Kirkland Signature Belgian chocolate gift boxes ($14.99 for a 1.5-pound box with 46 pieces), containers of Kirkland Signature European cookies with Belgian chocolate ($12.99 for 3.09 pounds), and Kirkland Signature Walkers Shortbread ($19.99 for 4.63 pounds).

Ramhold’s particularly smitten with the KS European cookies.

“These are only available around this time of year,” says Ramhold. “Each tin has 15 different kinds of cookies and these are such an easy dessert to set out after dinner for guests to enjoy with coffee. Each tin weighs 49.4 ounces, and the cookies are on the smaller side so they’re the perfect snack.”

For your fur baby, why not bring a little of the storied Costco food court home? In a way.

10 of 21

Costco Kirkland Signature Nuts

Cashews spilling out of a bowl on a tableCashews spilling out of a bowl on a table

Holiday tradition demands we stock up on nuts, if only to give the nutcracker’s jaw its seasonal workout.

Costco knows nuts, and its Kirkland Signature Unsalted Cashews are a prime example. That’s not just this nut speaking.

“Costco’s nuts are always super-fresh and high-quality,” raves food and cooking website TheKitchn.com. “Unless you’re a big-time baker, two- and three-pound packages of nuts might seem like a daunting purchase, but don’t forget that they freeze beautifully.” I can also echo TheKitchn’s love of Costco’s Super Extra-Large Virginia Peanuts.

Ramhold of DealNews is a big fan of the nuttiness of Kirkland Signature.

“Walnuts, macadamia nuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, and pecans are usually available and are a great deal compared to shopping in a grocery store if you need a good amount for holiday baking or like to roast your own varieties for a holiday snack,” says Ramhold.

A 40-ounce package of Kirkland Signature whole fancy cashews goes for $14.99, cheaper than the going rate for Planters whole cashews on Amazon (excluding shipping), which was seeking $14.99 for a 33-ounce package.

11 of 21

Costco Kirkland Signature Batteries

Close up of the top of AA batteries Close up of the top of AA batteries

Here’s one holiday tradition that hasn’t changed much over the years: Making sure you have enough batteries on hand to power all those new toys and gifts. Kirkland Signature batteries can keep electronic toys and devices charged up at bargain prices. A 48-pack of Kirkland Signature AA batteries (reportedly made by Duracell) is $13.99, or about 29 cents per battery. To get the Duracell name on your batteries, you’ll pay 13 cents more per battery via a 40-pack of Duracell AA batteries for $16.99. (Or wait until Costco puts the real Duracell batteries on sale at prices that rival the Costco Kirkland brand.)

12 of 21

Costco Kirkland Signature Olive Oil

Close-up view of a bowl of fresh green salad with mozzarella, mixed nuts and dry fruits. A woman’s hand was pouring olive oil into the sClose-up view of a bowl of fresh green salad with mozzarella, mixed nuts and dry fruits. A woman’s hand was pouring olive oil into the s

Costco’s olive oil rises to the top, notes the University of California, Davis, which conducted a chemical and sensory study of olive oils. Kirkland Signature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil was one of only a few imported oils that met international and U.S. standards for extra virgin olive oil. The many brands that fell short in the testing were diluted with cheaper oils and exhibited problems with quality and flavor.

Kirkland’s EVOO — especially the two-liter bottle for about $12 — is a must for the holidays, experts say. It’s one product to buy in bulk for the holidays. Even a  big bottle shouldn’t go to waste, with all the cooking and dipping at holiday gatherings.

13 of 21

Costco Kirkland Signature Cheese Flights

Closeup on trendy woman in gold sequin skirt and white sweater under decorated Christmas tree near present boxes holding cheese platter.Closeup on trendy woman in gold sequin skirt and white sweater under decorated Christmas tree near present boxes holding cheese platter.

You never know when guests will drop in for the holidays, and guess what? They’ve brought a bottle of wine. Be prepared to have some snacks, well, prepared. Pre-prepared, to be redundant, in this case, as in Kirkland Signature cheese flights.

Add your own nuts, grapes, and crackers, and this party spread is done. While ingredients may vary, the one available at the Costco I visited has Gruyere, Bellavitano, Chevre, pecorino, and fontal cheeses. It was $23.99 for almost two pounds.

14 of 21

Costco Kirkland Signature Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter on Toast-Peanut Butter on Toast-

You want something fast and filling when all those kids come over for holiday gatherings. And Kirkland Signature Organic Peanut Butter (just peanuts and salt) is a go-to food, for sandwiches or baking yummy peanut butter cookies.

Our favorite brand had been Smucker’s organic creamy peanut butter, we have found Kirkland Signature Organic PB is just as good (and often better) as national brands, and there’s no arguing with the price. You can get two huge 28-ounce jars of Kirkland peanut butter for around $10, or 18 cents per creamy ounce, while just one 16-ounce jar of Smucker’s costs $4.48 at Walmart, or 28 cents per ounce.

15 of 21

Costco Kirkland Signature Trash Bags

Teenage girl putting a plastic garbage bag in a trash canTeenage girl putting a plastic garbage bag in a trash can

The holidays generate a lot of nifty-gifties, but they also generate a lot of trash. All that wrapping paper! All those food scraps! Costco has you covered with Kirkland Signature Flex-Tech scented kitchen bags. A 200-bag box of 13-gallon bags is $18.99, or 9 cents a bag (still, that’s a more than $4 increase from 2020). At Walmart, a box of 110 13-gallon Glad ForceFlex scented garbage  bags is $24.50, or 22 cents a bag, twice as much as the Kirkland Signature brand.

“There are a variety of different trash bags under Kirkland’s line, but we keep our cabinets stocked with the Flex-Tech bags,” says Ramhold of DealNews.com. “We can cram a ton of trash into them. They work just as well for weekly trash as they do for broken-down cardboard boxes.”

16 of 21

Costco Kirkland Signature Big Red Cups

Men having barbeque at tailgate party in stadium parking lotMen having barbeque at tailgate party in stadium parking lot

Those legendary big red cups are good for more than pickup beer pong events with your hipster grandparents. They’re also good for socially distanced small holiday gatherings where friends and family aren’t using your dishware and you’re practicing good recycling methods.

And here’s where another major manufacturer, Chinet instead of Flex-Tech, has teamed up with Kirkland Signature. Check out Kirkland Signature Chinet the Big Red Cup for packages of KS-stamped 18-ounce plastic cups, red of course. You can get a package of 240 for $10.49 (up from $8.99 a year ago), or about 4 cents per cup. By comparison, Walmart was selling a package of Solo red plastic cups for $4.12 for 50, or 8 cents per cup, double the Kirkland Signature brand.

17 of 21

Kirkland Signature Cutlery

Clear plastic cutlery on a white tableClear plastic cutlery on a white table

We’ve often pointed you to dollar stores to pick up holiday dishware, cutlery and cups, but to step up the quality at still-bargain prices, turn to Costco. Its Kirkland Signature cutlery, along with the above-mentioned red cups, are the rave of experts.

Says Ramhold, “Get these ahead of the holiday season and you’ll likely have plenty to host at least a couple of parties. The cutlery box has 360 pieces and includes knives, spoons, and forks for around $16, which comes out to four cents per piece. Stocking up on these means not having to worry about doing dishes after the parties are over and make cleanup much easier.”

18 of 21

Costco Kirkland Signature Chocolate Chips

Chocolate chips in bowl and on a tableChocolate chips in bowl and on a table

The holidays always feature a lot of baking, and many of us will need our chocolate fix in our sweets.

You can’t go wrong with Kirkland Signature semi-sweet chocolate chips. You can score a giant 72-ounce (4.5-pounds) bag for $7.99 (down $1 from a year ago), but if you can’t do without a national brand, Costco also sells Nestle’s Toll House chips, same size package, for $9.79.

Ramhold is partial to Kirkland Signature’s chips.

“These are still the superior chocolate chips in my opinion and are great to keep on hand during the holidays for all the baking projects, whether it’s cookies, brownies, muffins, or anything else that requires them,” says Ramhold. “Plus, they’re a great value.”

19 of 21

Costco Kirkland Signature Organic Strawberry Spread

Strawberry jab spread on toast for continental breakfast trayStrawberry jab spread on toast for continental breakfast tray

Spread the red for the holidays. Ramhold and others just absolutely love Kirkland Signature Organic Strawberry Spread, an inexpensive and tasty topper for all sorts of things.

“It smells and tastes like fresh strawberries, and I’ve used it in so many different things,” says Ramhold. “Whether you’re making thumbprint cookies, oatmeal jam bars, or just a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, this is the only spread you need. I also recommend swirling it through a no-bake cheesecake batter for an easy dessert.”

A 42-ounce jar sells for $7.49.

20 of 21

Kirkland Signature Meatballs

Some meatballs and a loaf of breadSome meatballs and a loaf of bread

We’ve never met a meatball we haven’t loved, especially those simmering in a crockpot for easy meals or snacks around the holidays. Kirkland Signature’s cooked meatballs are tops.

You can get a 6-pound bag for about $23 “and you’ll have an easy shortcut to holiday appetizers all season long,” says Ramhold. “Alternatively, if holiday chaos has you considering takeout more often, opt for these and dried pasta for a fast dinner that takes no time at all to make.”

21 of 21

Kirkland Signature Balsamic Vinegar

Close up and midsection of young woman's hand dipping fresh bread in olive oil with balsamic vinegar and enjoying a sumptuous meal in an Italian restaurantClose up and midsection of young woman's hand dipping fresh bread in olive oil with balsamic vinegar and enjoying a sumptuous meal in an Italian restaurant

Kirkland Signature’s balsamic vinegar also gets a big thumbs up from deals experts, including Ramhold.

“If you order online, you can get a 2-pack of 1-liter bottles for around $37 and this balsamic is delicious whether you want to use it straight up or cook it down for a reduction,” says Ramhold. “It’s one of my favorite things to keep on hand all year long, but it’s especially handy around the holidays when we’re attending parties with charcuterie boards and things like that.”

Source: kiplinger.com

How to Save Money at Whole Foods – 6 Shopping Tips

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Additional Resources

Does Whole Foods Market really deserve the nickname “Whole Paycheck?” 

Maybe not. 

The store does have a reputation for selling overpriced specialty foods (like a $6 bottle of “asparagus water”). But it’s also possible to get some fantastic deals if you know what to buy, what to skip, and where to look for money-saving opportunities.

How to Save Money at Whole Foods

You know the drill for saving money on groceries. Don’t go grocery shopping while hungry, make a meal plan before you go, and bring a grocery list with you. But that’s not always enough at Whole Foods.

But that doesn’t mean you have to avoid it. Just arm yourself with these Whole Foods savings strategies to get the Whole Foods goods you crave with a lower price tag.

1. Sign up for Amazon Prime

Amazon bought Whole Foods in 2017. Since that purchase, a few things have changed about the Whole Foods shopping experience. 

You can still get organic veggies, fancy cheese, and prime cuts of meat. But now, you can get all those things with the discount that comes with your Prime membership. 

Prime members get an extra 10% off sale items. For example, if a product that’s normally $6 is marked down to $5, as a Prime member, you’d only pay $4.50. These deals are labeled with a little yellow tag that reads, “extra 10% off sale.” Whole Foods also lists sale products on its website. 

You can also find special Prime member-only deals on seasonal goods like strawberries or squash. A little blue label reading, “Prime member deal,” alerts you to those. That label means non-Prime members pay regular price while you get the deal. 

To get your discount, Prime members can shop through the Amazon website for two-hour delivery and free one-hour grocery pickup. In-store, you can select the deals you want from the Whole Foods app, which will generate a code you can use at checkout. Or you can just give the cashier your phone number.

2. Get an Amazon Visa Credit Card

If you shop at Whole Foods or Amazon frequently, it’s probably worth your time to sign up for the Prime Rewards Visa Signature card. You get 5% cash back when you shop at Whole Foods. 

But you can also use it at any merchant that accepts Visa. The card gives you 1% cash back at most places, with 2% back when you use it at drugstores, restaurants, or gas stations. The card doesn’t have an annual fee but does require a Prime membership.

If you’re not a Prime member, opt for the regular Amazon Rewards Visa Signature card and enjoy 3% cash back at Whole Foods. The Amazon Rewards card also gives you 1% cash back at most merchants or 2% back at drugstores, restaurants, and gas stations. There’s no annual fee for this card, either.

2. Shop the Weekly Sales

Despite its “Whole Paycheck” reputation, Whole Foods actually has pretty impressive sales, especially if buying organic, free-range, or sustainably raised food is important to you. 

Many sale products are already on the expensive side, such as shrimp and animal welfare-certified sirloin. But if that’s what you’re looking for, Whole Foods’ sale prices often can’t be beat (even on less sustainable food elsewhere). And you may not find such high quality at a regular grocery store, anyway. 

When meal planning or making your shopping list, check out the sales flyer on their website for inspiration. Even if you don’t typically eat such expensive food on a random weeknight, you can find deals for special meals like birthday dinners or date night.

The sales flyer is also available on the Whole Foods app, making it easy to add discounted products to your list for the week. 

You can also find Whole Foods’ sales flyers on Flipp, an app that aggregates sales flyers for multiple stores and makes planning your shopping list from them a breeze. That way, you can compare Whole Foods’ sales to other stores’ prices in a single place.

3. Use Coupons

You can use manufacturer coupons at Whole Foods, despite what the rumors say. The store happily takes coupons for branded products. 

It also occasionally offers its own coupons or deals, such as $10 off a purchase of $50. Usually, the deals are specific to local stores and aren’t available at every location.

You may be able to practice some form of extreme couponing at Whole Foods. For example, you can combine a store coupon with a manufacturer coupon for an even bigger discount.

4. Shop the Bulk Section

Buying in bulk at Whole Foods is different from buying in bulk at warehouse stores like Costco. You’re not going to walk out of the supermarket with a 10-gallon jug of mayonnaise or 5-pound barrel of pretzels.

The bulk section at Whole Foods consists of rows of bins full of dried pantry goods, such as grains, beans, and nuts. Each bin has a code and a price by weight. You can buy as much or as little as you want. 

If you need a handful of nuts to dress up a salad, you can fill a plastic or paper bag with the exact amount you need. You can even bring your own reusable bulk bags to further cut down on waste. Write the SKU or product number on the tag or bag, then take it to checkout so the cashier can weigh it when you finish shopping. 

Along with letting you buy only what you need, helping you reduce waste, bulk bin products tend to be a little cheaper than their packaged counterparts. 

But compare prices to be sure. Look at the per-ounce or per-pound price of a bag of rice, nuts, or beans, then look at how much the same food costs in the bulk section. 

5. Buy Everyday Value Products

Whole Foods has its own brand, 365 Everyday Value. The store’s label sells pretty much everything, including both staples and treats. For example, products include olive oil, grains, cereal, milk, beans, and ice cream. 

The store’s private-label products are pretty good and usually cost less, sometimes substantially so, than branded products. 

6. Bring Your Own Bags

Whole Foods has a bag refund policy that gives you $0.05 or $0.10 back (it varies by store) when you bring your own reusable bags. 

The bring-your-own-bag policy isn’t going to make you rich, but it is a nice incentive to remember to take a few reusable bags with you when you go to the store. Plus, every cent adds up.

Besides, some cities and states now have bag bans, meaning you have to pay to get a paper or plastic bag if you don’t bring your own. While each state’s or municipality’s bag fee is minuscule — for example, $0.10 or $0.25 — it adds up if you forget your bags every time you shop.

Final Word

Even before Amazon introduced Prime member savings and deals at Whole Foods, it was possible to shop at the natural foods store without going broke.

The store’s private label and bulk bin section in particular make it easy to save money on pantry basics without a Prime membership. Plus, advice for saving money at any grocery store also applies to Whole Foods.

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Source: moneycrashers.com