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Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Have you cut the cord from pay TV yet? The latest numbers from Nielsen indicate that 5.1 million households are getting over-the-air reception and supplementing it with Internet-delivered pay programming. That trend is up by roughly 25 percent, according to The Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, the average American household pays about $800 annually for cable and around $1,000 for satellite. It’s a battle I’m waging at our house. We’re with an expensive satellite player and I’ve floated the trial balloon with my wife and kids about cutting the cord entirely — they’re not having it. For me, it would be no big sacrifice because the only thing I watch on TV is the NFL. I would lose a handful of Monday night and Thursday
Erbert & Gerbert’s Sandwich Shop: This Decatur eatery celebrates 25 years with the Founder’s Day menu selling select items for their original 1988 prices.
From 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. today get Classic sandwiches for $2.25 (regularly $4.49) and Specialty sandwiches for $3.25 (regularly $5.49).
The Decatur restaurant is located at 2752 E. Ponce De Leon Ave.
– Nedra Rhone, for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog
Bella Bag: The Atlanta store is my secret to carrying high-fashion designer bags without a high price tag. On a recent visit to the new store in Miami Circle, I spotted a Louis Vuitton bag for $1,599 (regularly $1,820) a Chanel bag for $1,950 (regularly $2,900) along with Prada, Fendi, Chloe and many more. You can buy, sell and trade online or in store. Through February, use code Jessicashops and save 13 percent off when you shop Bella Bag online — in celebration of the New Year, of course. Shop shopbellabag.com or see the selection in person in Buckhead at 650 Miami Circle, Atlanta.
Century 21: The chain of department stores can mainly be found in the Northeast. It’s a must-stop every time I visit New York City. Shoppers can always score deals on designer brands, and Century 21’s big Winter Clearance Sale is going on now, both in-store and — lucky for us in Georgia — online! Discounts are marked up to 75 percent off the hottest styles for women, men and kids,
Brrrr, program your thermostat…we’re in for a cold night.
With metro area temps dropping down to the 20’s tonight, there’s no better time for a quick refresher on home energy savings.
The average American spends $2,000 per year on energy bills according to the U.S. Dept. of Energy and while there are many ways to reduce your energy consumption, what works for you will depend on your personal preferences and comfort.
For example, my house has a heating situation — upstairs is toasty, while the main level is freezing! It is a common issue in many homes, but a big problem for someone who thinks a comfortable temperature is 75 degrees or higher.
My solution is to use a mix of the suggestions below — I use some of the strategies to keep my energy bill in check and ignore the ones that would make my life miserable (like keeping my thermostat set at 68 degrees!).
Here are some easy and affordable ways to reduce energy costs in winter (and beyond):
Heating : 45 percent of energy
In 2008, when Erin Gifford launched her coupon blog, there weren’t many others out there. It would take two more years for “extreme couponing” to enter the lexicon of American shoppers and become a popular TV series of the same name. By the time she sold her blog in 2011, the coupon landscape was chaos.
“There were a lot more people thinking, ‘I can do this, too,’ and they started their own sites,” Gifford says. “There is so much competition.”
Gifford, now spokeswoman for Ziplist.com — a website and mobile app that keeps your recipes, shopping lists and grocery sales all in one place — prefers a more modest investment of time than the 10 or more hours per week many extreme couponers devote to their craft.
Here are Gifford’s tips on how to allocate the time you do have to a few of the most important areas of couponing:
If you have less time: The fastest way to get coupons is to get the Sunday newspaper. It is filled with the store
Certified financial planner Wes Moss provides personal finance advice and accessible investment strategies. His guest post appears here weekly.
Do you know how much you really pay in taxes? I’m talking about all your taxes: income, capital gains, property and sales taxes. Most people I ask tell me they pay about 30 percent. That may sound high, but it turns out to be right. And part of it has to do with living in Georgia.
When I gauge a client’s approximate overall effective tax rate, I often go to moneychimp.com. Check it out. You may be surprised to see how low your “effective” federal tax rate is.
But it’s probably not your actual tax rate. Most tax calculators don’t show all the areas that take a hefty chunk out of your paycheck. FICA and state income taxes are two of the big eaters at the paycheck buffet. Here’s what I mean:
Let’s say the Joneses earn $110,000 a year.
Atlantic Station: Today through Sunday, spend $50 or more at any combination of stores in Atlantic Station and receive a $5 gift card of your choice from the concierge.
Babies“R”Us and Toys“R”Us: It is time for the popular “Great Trade-In” event. Bring in used baby items, such as cribs, car seats, strollers and more in exchange for a 25 percent savings on the purchase of a new item. The “Great Trade-In” event runs today through Sun., Feb. 10 at all Babies“R”Us and Toys“R”Us stores nationwide. All brands available at Babies“R”Us and Toys“R”Us stores are eligible for the savings offered by the “Great Trade-In” event, except: Maxi-Cosi car seats, Baby Jogger, Bugaboo, Mamas & Papas, Peg Perego, Phil & Teds, Quinny and “Unbeatable Price” items.
Pike Nurseries: The early bird gets a discount on Saturday at Pike’s “Early Birding Sale.” Get 20 percent off all Birding accessories including bird houses, feeders and seed. In addition, between 10 –
Healthy discounts to help with sleep and weight loss
Estroven Nighttime, Mangodrin, Lipton tea, High-T Testosterone: Get $31 in free items at Walgreens with Register Rewards. Estroven Nighttime (24 count) is on sale for $10. After the $10 Register Rewards coupon, your net cost will be zero. Mangodrin Extreme Weight Loss Supplement (30 count) is on sale for $10. After the $10 Register Rewards coupon your net cost will be zero. Bottles of Lipton Tea Pure Leaf (18.5 ounce) or Iced or Green tea (20 ounce) are on sale for $1 each. After the $1 Register Reward, your net cost will be zero. High-T Testosterone (30 count) is on sale for $10. After the $10 Register Rewards coupon, your net cost will be zero.
Treats for pets and their people
Good n Natural, Purina: Pull out your Jan. 6 circulars and make sure to get the coupons for a free Good n Natural bar (value $1.50, in RedPlum) and a free 2.1-ounce package of Purina Friskies cat treats (value $1.69, in SmartSource).
Since we’re talking cars today (see Clark Howard’s post about sweet deals on new cars)… here’s a hot topic for those of you in the market for a used car.
Several news outlets and consumers publications have been reporting on the flood cars flooding the market after superstorm Sandy.
A recent New York Times story detailed the auctioning of flooded cars for prices like $2,600, $5,300, $3,000.
While all of them have titles that brand them flood cars, not all would be dismantled for parts or melted down for materials. Some, unfortunately, would end up being resold to unsuspecting buyers out-of-state.
Yikes! Who wants to get stuck with a flood car? While the damage may not be immediately apparent, these cars are obviously not safe. Corrosion, erratic electrical systems, mold and more can all become issues for cars that have been subjected to flood damage, according to a recent Consumer Reports story.
Here are just a few of the tips the consumer publication gives to help used car