Online shopping typically causes a conundrum: You’ve found what you want, but you’ll have to wait days for delivery. You could buy it in a store, but you’ll spend more time and potentially more money too. And that’s if what you’re looking for is in stock.
Soon, this dilemma may be dust. Several large retailers are testing a same-day delivery option, combining the ease of online shopping with instant – or near instant – gratification.
Want to get your order today? Same-day delivery is now available for select retailers and locations. Here’s how and where you can take advantage.
1. Amazon.com Local Express Delivery
Already famous for its two-day “Prime” shipping service, Amazon.com now offers a faster option. The online retailer’s “Local Express Delivery” provides same-day service in 10 U.S. cities: Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.
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Thousands of items are available for same-day delivery, but not everything Amazon sells. You’ll have to check the product detail pages or look for the same-day option at checkout to see what’s eligible. ( Continue… )
Taxes are inconvenient, unavoidable, time-consuming, and can be frustrating. But let’s figure out what you need heading into the 2013 tax season…
1. Get your numbers in order
First, get everyone’s Social Security numbers. You’ll need one for everyone on your tax return: yourself, your spouse, and everyone you support (dependents), including your parents or children.
If your children don’t already have a Social Security number, get one now. Fill out the Application for a Social Security Card from the U.S. Social Security Administration website and locate your child’s birth certificate. You’ll need to bring the application, birth certificate, and your child to your local office. Anyone 12 or older applying for an original SSN has to be interviewed in person.
2. Tally your income
Next, gather any documents that show the income you earned in 2012, as well as income earned by your spouse if filing jointly. If you’ve only had one job, no problem – you just need a W2 from your employer. You can see a sample here. ( Continue… )
Any cash-strapped Apple fan knows that when it comes to saving money on Cupertino's gadgets, you have two choices — buy from authorized retailers or wait for refurbs to hit the Apple Store. Backed by the same 1-year warranty as their new counterparts, Apple refurbs are among the best in the industry.
As we close in on the iPad mini's 3-month anniversary, consumers are beginning to wonder when the first iPad mini refurbs will arrive and what kind of discount they'll offer. To predict their potential price, we turned to our deal archives and looked at refurb discounts that previous iPads have received.
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Savings of 10% After 6 Months
To predict the future price of Apple-reconditioned iPad mini refurbs, we turned to the tablet's closest relative — the iPad 2. Hardware-wise, the two tablets are nearly identical. In addition to packing the same 1024x768 screen resolution, both tablets also use the same dual-core A5 processor. ( Continue… )
Ah, Valentine’s Day, the holiday where everyone longs for a box of chocolates and a dozen roses. Or do they?
Money Talks News recently conducted a survey asking, “Which gift would you be most excited to see on Valentine’s Day?” Both men and women in all age groups – 1,503 survey participants in total – were asked to select among five options: candy, jewelry, flowers, a gift certificate, or a romantic date.
While you might expect the most traditional gifts – flowers and candy – to top wish lists, the reality was practically the opposite. Here’s how each of the five fared…
Russell Stover might not want to hear this, but of the five options, candy was the least popular.
In a 2010 survey from the National Retail Federation, 47.2 percent of respondents said they planned to buy candy for their Valentine. Maybe they did – but the recipient might not have been as thrilled as they acted.
Only 11.7 percent of participants in our survey were hoping for candy this year, with men (13.2 percent) preferring sweets more than women (10.4 percent). Not surprisingly, candy is more appealing to the younger crowd: 17.9 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds put it at the top of their list, compared to just 9.2 percent of those over age 65. ( Continue… )
As you bask in the glory that is your Christmas haul of 2012, you may be pawing over a gift card or two. And After Christmas Sales might seem like an extremely tempting place to start redeeming them. But depending on what you're looking for, you might get the most value out of your card if you wait to shop. From consumer electronics to apparel, to MP3s and beyond, we've combed the dealnews archives to offer the best timeframes in which to spend your holiday giftcards.
Best Time to Buy: Late December and Early January
Potential Discount: Up to 50% off
While the typical Black Friday onslaught of brand new all-time low HDTV prices are long gone, we will soon see steep discounts on brand-name HDTVs, which are usually absent during the post-Thanksgiving shopping holiday. So far we've seen 42" and 47" LCD and plasma HDTVs from LG at all-time lows available at the likes of Amazon, newegg, and TigerDirect, but many more are sure to follow, if you patiently wait for a deal. TVs generally continue their slow decline through the year and bottom out in the summer before Black Friday slashes them again even further.
Best Time to Buy: January and February
Potential Discount: 15% to 60% off ( Continue… )
Not knowing what to cook for dinner is one issue, but not having anything to cook is a bigger problem, especially after a long day at the office. In this situation, many of us resort to takeout food, which isn’t good for our wallets or waistlines – especially if it becomes a habit.
This is why staple foods, which work well with many meals, are so important. These items often have a long shelf life, making them good ingredients to stock up on for last-minute meals.
Eggs are a great source of protein and vitamins, including vitamin A (healthy skin) and vitamin D (bone strength). Although they don’t reside in the pantry, they are an essential kitchen ingredient, budget-friendly, and easy to make. They can be prepared in many different ways, from hard boiled eggs to grilled eggs.
Stock up on potatoes, and you can easily whip up French fries, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, potato chips, and more. They’re tasty, inexpensive, easy to prepare, and can easily be grown in a garden. They’re also filling and acceptable to eat at any meal time. ( Continue… )
Cozy, sheepskin-lined boots from UGG Australia have been a much-coveted item for several years now, and the brand itself evokes a desirable caliber of quality. All of this, naturally, comes at a high cost. However, if you've had your heart set on a pair of UGGs and have been deterred by the hefty — and infrequently discounted — price tag, then take heed: now just so happens to be the best time ever to buy a pair of UGG boots.
UGG is notorious for its very strict pricing policies, which binds all retailers to a Minimum Advertised Price (MAP). This stops stores from advertising prices below an amount specified by the manufacturer. UGG has used this number to keep a stranglehold on its merchandise pricing, forcing most stores to carry items at a standard price across the board. This is also why customers typically don't see UGG footwear heavily discounted.
UGG, however, hasn't had a great holiday season, and many stores have been left with a large amount of unsold inventory. For consumers, this translates into unprecedented discounts, the likes of which we might not see again. Below, we flesh out the details about the sales, including why, when, and how much. ( Continue… )
Here’s a recent reader question that applies to lots of us, including yours truly…
Hi Stacy, I read your Money Talks News first thing each morning! I have a question. How does one budget, save, get out of debt, have money for quarterly taxes, etc., on an erratic income. I am an independent contractor and sometimes clients pay and sometimes they take a long time to do so. This is pretty tough on my finances. I don’t like to push for payments because I am afraid work will dry up. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you very much.
Every year about this time we publish articles like "How to Make a Budget You Can Stick With" explaining how to create a spending plan – something essential to accomplish your financial goals.
A spending plan, otherwise known as a budget, is about tracking your income and expenses so you can find the extra money to achieve your goals. But a spending plan has three necessary ingredients: a goal, an estimate of expenses, and an estimate of income. If you can’t estimate your income, you can’t plan. And there’s a lot of people in this position, from commissioned salespeople to the self-employed. I’m one of them: The last time I received a regular salary was April 1981.
How to budget with a variable income
When it comes to planning around a variable income, there’s no simple technique allowing you to accurately predict the unpredictable. And the more your income varies, the harder it is. If your income fluctuates by 10-20 percent, no big deal. More problematic is income that fluctuates a lot. My 2009 income plunged 90 percent from what I made in 2008, and I didn’t see it coming. In 2012, I made more than twice as much as I did in 2011, and again, it was a surprise.
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So what are those of us with wildly fluctuating incomes to do? The best we can. Here are the steps to take: ( Continue… )
Ever purchased something online from the comfort of your home, only to wish your retail therapy had provided you with more instant item-in-hand gratification? We have good news: you won't have to wistfully twiddle your thumbs for days anymore, as major retailers are feeling the push to dole out various iterations of same-day delivery.
Instant access to online orders has become a battle ground for retailers, as it affords them a means of beating out the competition. And this translates into comfy at-home pajama-clad shopping, while you marvel at the speed at which your purchases are delivered to your door.
While Amazon Prime users have enjoyed 2-day shipping since 2005, same day delivery on a grand scale has proved to be far less cost-effective. In 2009, the online giant launched same-day delivery (what they call "local express delivery") in 10 cities including New York, Boston, and D.C., but never expanded further. Now, rumor has it that Amazon is gearing up for a broader launch as it opens warehouses across the country. ( Continue… )
Another year, another collection of lists purporting to know the best, cheapest, or weirdest places for your next vacation.
So which list do you listen to? Which publication knows best? Which locale do you visit?
To help find an answer, we’ve compared all the best-of lists and best-on-a-budget lists we could find. We also rounded up the unique travel lists – in case you’re traveling for a tattoo or want to travel back in time.
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Best of the best
We consider these eight hotspots the best of the best because they appear on multiple best-of lists.
1. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
This capital city made three lists for 2013: Fodor’s Go List, Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Cities, and Travel + Leisure magazine’s Hottest Travel Destinations.
Amsterdam’s 2013 milestones include the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra’s 125th anniversary; Van Gogh’s 160th birthday; the Artis Zoo’s 175th anniversary; and the 400th anniversary of the Canal Ring, designated a World Heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The Rijksmuseum also reopens after a 10-year restoration.
So, Fodor’s says, “The city is ready to celebrate with concerts, exhibits, festivals, and sport events designed to embrace the spirit and culture of Amsterdam.”
2. Marseille, France
Travel + Leisure calls Marseille France’s edgiest city: “Style seekers browse the racks in the Cours Julien district; artists are colonizing the Le Panier area; and trendy types hole up at Philippe Starck’s Mama Shelter.”
But, National Geographic says, “For all the new energy, Marseille’s old pleasures remain as alluring as ever: a stroll along the narrow lanes of the Panier Quarter, the lusty aromas of a good bouillabaisse, a boat ride into the fjordlike inlets called calanques. It’s no wonder that visitors are becoming fadas (big fans) of France’s southern gateway.”
This European country made Fodor’s and Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Countries.