The Wayfair Perk That Can Save You Big Bucks

14 Things You Didn’t Know About Donald Trump, the online home goods store, is the epitome of their catchy commercial tune, “Wayfair, you’ve got just what I need!” And they do have everything you need for your home and even your wallet! In fact, they have a secret bargain that could save you loads of money. But here’s the catch, you can […]

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Smart Ways to 
Save at the Supermarket

We spend too much on groceries

money walletNATTHAPONG SUNTORNDECH/ShutterstockEven when nobody feels like cooking, everybody feels like eating. So it’s no wonder that more than 25 percent of the average family food budget now goes to easy-prep meals and grab-and-go foods, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). But it’s not just prepared-food prices that are nibbling at our wallets. Over the past 30 years, grocery prices have risen more than the prices of other items we buy. Americans now spend almost $700 billion a year at the supermarket. Make sure you don’t fall for these supermarket tricks.

Choose the right cart

grocery-shoppingnd3000/ShutterstockIt’s the first thing you do at the store—and the first way to help yourself save. Unless you’re doing a week’s worth of shopping, grab a small 
grocery cart. In an experiment by a cart manufacturer, shoppers bought 
40 percent more stuff when given a cart double the size they usually used.

But don’t grab a basket

grocery-shoppingDragon Images/ShutterstockIt may sound counterintuitive, but carrying a small handheld basket also can lead shoppers to temptation. There’s something about the action of flexing your arm muscles to hold the basket that subconsciously leads you to reach for treats such as candy, according to a behavioral study in the Journal of Marketing Research. Watch out for these things your grocer won’t tell you.

Shop on Wednesdays

Calendargazanfer/shutterstockThe single best time to shop is Wednesday evening, according to the shopping news site Stores aren’t crowded, and, as a bonus, weekly specials start on Wednesday at nearly half of U.S. supermarkets. Some stores honor the previous week’s sales and coupons and the new week’s.

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And not on weekends

Calendarconejota/ShutterstockSaturday and Sunday mornings and early afternoons are the busiest, according to the annual American Time Use Survey. Stores are also crowded after work on weekdays. The average shopping trip is 47 minutes on weekends, 42 minutes on weekdays. If you want to start grocery shopping online, read these tips first.

Make fewer trips

Grocery-shoppingDean Drobot/ShutterstockEach time you hit the store, you spend money. (For the record, $136 each week for the typical household, and $204 for families with kids at home.) Americans make an average of 1.5 trips to the supermarket per week. Cut that down to one trip, and you’ll save time and money—particularly on impulse items, which we admit to grabbing 60 percent of the time.

Go it alone

Grocery-shoppingLADO/ShutterstockWhen we shop with someone else, as much as 65 percent of the things we wind up buying is unplanned, according to research from the Marketing Science Institute.

Except at the clubs

CostcoAndriy Blokhin/ShutterstockOne place where you should shop with others is the big warehouse clubs—BJ’s, Costco, and Sam’s Club. Supermarket expert Phil Lempert suggests bringing a buddy so you can split bulk purchases. For the biggest savings, buy store brands; they’re as much as 75 percent cheaper than name brands. For example, ­Costco’s Kirkland Signature dishwasher detergent packs cost about 9 cents a load, while Cascade Complete ActionPacs cost 29 cents a load.

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But don’t get stuck 
in a warehouse rut

Canned-vegetablesSteve Cukrov/ShutterstockNot everything is a great deal at the shopping clubs. Sometimes you can do better with a sale at the supermarket. Smart buys there include canned vegetables (20 percent to 40 percent less than club prices), soda (40 percent less), toilet paper (25 percent less), and eggs (50 cents less per dozen).

Surprise! Protein is a bargain

Raw-chickenGoncharov Artem/ShutterstockLast year, grocery prices overall went down for the first time in nearly 50 years. Foods that dipped the most in price include beef, pork, poultry, and dairy. Egg prices have fallen by 52 percent in the past two years, with the average price of a dozen down to $1.41. So if you’re looking for relative bargains to plan meals around, these are the big winners. (These are the healthiest foods you can buy at the supermarket.)

Eat what’s in season

BananasSven Naser/shutterstockFresh produce grown locally is usually the best value at super­markets and farmers’ markets. For instance, strawberries are usually about 30 cents cheaper per pound in June than in May. In March, look for broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauli­flower, lettuce, and pineapple. In April, snap up these same foods, as well as asparagus, rhubarb, and peas. Year-round bargains include bananas, celery, and potatoes.

Buy water at the hardware store

Vereshchagin Dmitry/ShutterstockSometimes bargains pop up in 
un­expected places. Look for good prices on bottled water at home-­improvement stores, says Mike Catania of He found a case of 16.9-ounce bottles of Niagara water at the Home Depot for $2.97, while a nearby grocery charged $2.99 for a case of 8-ounce bottles. That’s half the water for the same money.

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Look high and low on the shelves

grocery-storeTY Lim/ShutterstockStores put the most popular—and often the most costly—items at eye level. In fact, manufacturers often pay a fee for optimal placement. To find the bargains, look up and down to the higher and lower shelves. Retail consulting company McCue advises managers to put store brands and bulk items—generally the biggest bargains—on the bottom shelves.

Chop your own 

OnionsAndrey Burkov/ShutterstockNo wonder people complain about the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables: Over the past 30 years, the inflation-adjusted price of produce has risen 40 percent, according to the USDA. But that spike occurred mostly because we’re buying for convenience—bagged salads instead of heads of lettuce, for example—not because individual items cost that much more. Save by buying whole produce and prepping it yourself. For example, ShopSmart magazine found that prechopped onions averaged $4.65 a pound versus 99 cents a pound for whole onions. Just-prepped produce is fresher too.

Get the most for your organics dollar

PotatoesMaria Sbytova/ShutterstockAccording to Consumer Reports, certified organics (which the grower guarantees were grown in better-quality soil and without potentially harmful pesticides) cost nearly 50 percent more than their conventional counterparts. But the potential health benefits vary. Spend the extra money on foods whose skin you eat, such as apples, peaches, strawberries, grapes, peppers, celery, and potatoes. (Try these other simple ways to save big at the supermarket.)

Watch out for water weight

Producesantypan/Shutterstock“So many stores have misters for produce,” says Lempert. Shake the moisture out of lettuce, herbs, and the like before bagging, he suggests. Otherwise, you’ll wind up paying for water weight.

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Compare apples to apples

ApplesPixza Studio/ShutterstockWhen you’re buying bags of apples or potatoes, don’t just buy the first bag you grab. Make sure to pick a heavy one. In a price comparison, a Consumer Reports reporter found that “3-pound” bags of apples ranged in weight from 3.06 to 3.36 pounds—that’s 10 percent more apples for the same price.

Cut the crap

CandyZuzha/ShutterstockWe spend nearly 25 percent of our grocery dollars on processed foods and sweets, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Soda is the most purchased item, racking up $12 billion in sales a year, per figures from So if you’re buying certain treats just out of habit, try sticking to only a few favorites and see whether you can save some easy money. (These secrets will help you shop healthier at the grocery store.)

Hit the sales every week

EggsSergey Ryzhov/ShutterstockBuying staples when they’re on sale is Grocery Shopping 101. You’ll usually find the best deals front and center in the sales circulars, and you can browse those before you leave home. There’s a handy website called ­ that posts dozens of circulars from stores around the country. Money expert Clark Howard says you can save 30 percent or more on your weekly bill if you shop the sales consistently.

Make a shopping list

Shopping-listconejota/ShutterstockYes, you need one, because people who shop with a list spend far less time in the store and also make fewer impulse buys. If you’re not good at remembering a paper list, keep one on your phone. You can use one of many free apps (simple ones include Buy Me a Pie, Grocery IQ, and Out of Milk; all work on Android and iOS) or just keep your list in your phone’s built‑in Notes app.

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Consider one of the grocery apps

Grocery-shoppingGeorgejmclittle/ShutterstockSmart-shopping expert Trae Bodge says using a full-service grocery app can be worth it. She likes Flipp (free for Android and iOS) because it automates everything: It matches items on your list with store specials, coupons, or rebates; it has an easy list creator that you can customize by store; and it will even scan and upload your handwritten list, then sort it by aisle so you can find what you need.

Max out on coupons

CouponsBillion Photos/ShutterstockCherie Lowe, who calls herself the Queen of Free, scouts the sales at If she sees some juicy offers, she buys extra copies of the newspaper at the dollar store, which sells a weekend edition for a buck. You can snap up downloadable coupons at her website,, and other sites, including, ­, and

Snag store exclusives

Grocery-shoppingGeorgejmclittle/ShutterstockIf you have a couple of stores you shop at regularly, get familiar with their websites and see whether they have apps. That’s where you’ll find retailers’ best offers, says Catania, citing Kroger’s and Target’s Cartwheel as two good sources of exclusive coupons, promo codes, and rebates. (Yes, men and women do grocery shop differently—here’s how.)

Don’t be a brand snob

SupermarketAdisa/ShutterstockStore brands typically cost 15 percent to 30 percent less than name brands—and are sometimes made by the same companies. Three-quarters of shoppers view them as “just as good,” the latest IRI Consumer Connect survey shows, and Consumer Reports taste testers preferred them in 33 of 57 tests. Besides Costco, Target and Trader Joe’s are also known for high-quality private-label brands.

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Shop like a German

aldiShutterstockIf you don’t have an Aldi nearby, you likely will soon. The German discount chain plans to have 2,500 stores in the United States by 2022 (only Walmart and Kroger have more), reports Super­market News. Inside, you’ll find mostly store brands and perhaps not everything on your list—stores are smaller than the typical American grocery. But you can save about 35 percent on meat and produce and 45 percent overall, according to a comparison with Giant and Safeway by Washington Consumers’ Checkbook. Another German chain, Lidl, opened 20 stores in the United States last year, and retail analysts say it could expand to 630 locations by 2023. Lidl claims its prices are up to 50 percent less than competitors’.

Beware of sneaky labels

Grocery-shoppingAleksandar Karanov/ShutterstockShoppers tend to assume that healthier foods cost more, reports the Journal of Consumer Research, which is why some products marketed as “healthy” come with higher price tags. Don’t get suckered. When you see a catchy claim, look for comparable lower-priced products without buzzwords.

Buy the right size

Grocery-shoppingBodnar Taras/ShutterstockWhile the smallest packages 
are often the worst deals, the biggest size isn’t necessarily the biggest value. The key is to look for a unit price below the item on the shelf—the price per ounce or liter or whatever. In some cases, the medium-sized package might be your winner.

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Claim your group discount

Grocery-shoppingwavebreakmedia/ShutterstockIf you’re over a certain age, you may be eligible for a senior discount—typically 5 percent—if you shop on the right days. Stores with this policy include Harris Teeter and some Publix stores, as well as Fred Meyer, where you’ll save 10 percent. Also, veterans who join one of the big three warehouse clubs get special discounts and perks.

Ugly can be beautiful

Produce_rich people secretsAfrica Studio/ShutterstockCheck the produce section for markdowns on oddly shaped but still tasty “misfits.” In fact, Misfits is what supermarket chains Hanna­ford, Hy-Vee, and Meijer call their lines of imperfect fruits and veggies. Whatever they’re called, not only are these oddballs a bargain—prices average 30 percent cheaper than “perfect” produce—but buying them also helps cut down on food waste.

And so can dents

CansSebastian Crocker/ShutterstockRaid your supermarket’s “scratch and dent” sale rack, if it has one. You can find products at clearance prices because the packaging is damaged or has been redesigned. Example: a slightly smashed box of Special K Red Berries cereal marked down 50 percent, from $5.49 to $2.74. For safety reasons, make sure any 
inner packaging is sealed, and don’t buy deeply dented cans, because a damaged seal can let bacteria in. (­Minor dents shouldn’t be a danger.)

Bargain shop at 
Whole Foods

Whole-foodsRoman Tiraspolsky/ShutterstockIf you still think of this store by the nickname Whole Paycheck, take another look. Since Amazon took over last August, it has lowered prices on hundreds of items, including avocados (from $2.99 to $1.79 each), organic bananas (from 99 cents per pound to 69 cents), fresh Atlantic salmon (from $14.99 per pound to $9.99), and rotisserie chickens (from $8.99 to $7.99).

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Bring the store to you

grocery-deliveryAtstock Productions/ShutterstockOrdering groceries and having them delivered isn’t as big a splurge as you might think. You might have to pay a fee, though some stores (such as Costco, which just started delivering in some areas) will do it for free if you spend over a certain amount. Online delivery services not only offer their own sales but also dangle hefty discounts to get you try them: For example, when you sign up for Fresh Direct, you get $50 back on your first two grocery orders totaling $99.

Buy staples online websites promising low prices can be smart sources for certain staples. These three offer great deals on everyday items:

  • sells brand-name items starting at $1. Example: Hampton Creek Just Mayo mayonnaise, 30 ounces, $3.99. At the ShopRite in White Plains, New York, the same mayo was the same price—only it was the 12-ounce size. Shipping is free if you spend $25 or more; otherwise, it’s $5.95 per order.
  • offers an eclectic selection of no-name organics: maple syrup, tortilla shells, shampoo, and more. Everything costs $3. Shipping is a flat $5 per order or free for members of its rewards club.
  • ships bulk items at low prices. Example: Lysol Disinfectant Spray is $16.99 for four 19-ounce bottles, while Costco’s everyday price is $17.99. Shipping is free for orders of $49 or more or $6.99 per order.

Try Walmart’s produce again

WallmartKen Wolter/ShutterstockIf you’ve avoided fresh fruits and vegetables at Walmart, you might want to reconsider. Greg Foran, Walmart’s U.S. president and CEO, says the company has worked hard to cut down the number of days it takes produce to land in stores—by two to three days for most, four for strawberries.

When is that cooked chicken a bargain?

ChickenLisyl/ShutterstockDespite some reports that buying a rotisserie chicken is cheaper than roasting your own, that’s not always true. A comparison by found that you’ll typically pay about a dollar more per pound for the cooked bird. (One exception is Costco, which sells its $4.99 rotisserie chickens at a loss to get you in the store.) On the other hand, if you don’t have much time, a $7 precooked supermarket chicken still costs less than Boston Market’s, where you’ll pay about $10.

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Fill up for less

Gas-stationDejanns/ShutterstockStop & Shop customers can save 10 cents to $1.50 per gallon on gas, based on their grocery spending. Other stores with gas-back programs include Giant, Safeway, and Vons. Get details at store websites or ask at the customer service counter.

Don’t buy so much!

Grocery-shoppingSunKids/ShutterstockIf you’re like most Americans, you threw away more than $2,000 worth of food last year. That’s about one-fourth of the food and drinks we buy, reports the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). A smart way to cut down on waste is to plan your meals for the week, starting with dishes that use up anything you already have and need to eat quickly. Then buy only any remaining ingredients. Dana Gunders, a scientist at the NRDC, has compiled more tips in the book Waste-Free Kitchen Handbook: A Guide to Eating Well and Saving Money by Wasting Less Food. Learn more and buy the book at ­ (These are the 50 unhealthiest foods you can buy at the supermarket.)

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These Latest Heart Health Findings Could Just Save Your Life

The clock is ticking


Since the 1950s, heart disease deaths have declined by a whopping 70 percent. That’s good news, but heart disease is still the number one killer in the United States, and the steady decline in deaths tapered off starting in 2011, says Nakela Cook, MD, MPH, chief of staff at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in Bethesda, MD, at an NHLBI-sponsored media conference in New York City.

Rates of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other risks are on the rise and becoming more prevalent in children, and that threatens to reverse all of our hard-won gains. Are you at risk? Check out these little-known heart disease risk factors that may have a big effect on your health.

Heart disease prevention? There’s an app for that

Girl-on-phoneJacob Lund/shutterstock Activity tracking and calorie counting apps can help turn the tables on heart disease risk factors like obesity. (So can an old-school pedometer—here’s how.) Technology is also changing the way that people with heart disease communicate with their doctors, and this interaction may save the lives of countless others. Apps such as Omron Wellness allow users to transfer data from their blood pressure monitor to their smartphone, and they can review a month’s worth of readings with their doctor to get a much better picture of their progress over time. Other trials such as CONNECT-HF are harnessing technology to develop specific strategies that will make it easier to recover from heart failure. The trial, which will include 8,000 heart patients and their post-hospital wellness, involves regular check-ins by phone or text to see what interventions help and what doesn’t.

And ultimately this type of data may have even bigger applications, says Dr. Cook. “Medicine will be more like Google and Amazon, and we will be able to take the data we have collected from individuals to guide community health.”

Everything old is new again

MedicationAir Images/Shutterstock

Some heart medications that have been around for decades are incredibly effective at lowering risk for heart disease. Taking a daily baby aspirin is one of the ways to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke (here are 30 more ways to further reduce your risk, too). Another oldie but goody, Enalapril, is used alone or with other drugs to treat high blood pressure; combined with other medications, it can also treat heart failure, says Ileana L. Pina, MD, MPH, a professor of Medicine, Epidemiology, and Population Health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and an Associate Chief for Academic Affairs at the Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. “It’s a superb drug and it is cheap. Newer isn’t necessarily better,” she says. “We can reverse your heart disease and reverse the chance of heart failure by 50 percent with available medications,” says Dr. Pina. Prevention and early detection also make a big difference.

Knowing how to catch symptoms of heart failure promptly can literally save your life.

Earlier screening


We need the equivalent of breast cancer screening for the early detection of heart disease, says David C. Goff Jr, MD, PhD, NHLBI’s director of the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences. For a while, heart experts pinned their hopes on coronary calcium scans that use x-rays to identify calcium deposits in the arteries. Calcium deposits are an early sign of heart disease, but newer tests may spot heart disease even before calcification sets in. While not ready for prime time yet, computed tomography angiography (also called CT angiography or CTA) can detect narrowing of the arteries—one of the earliest signs of future blockages. “Right now this is being used to screen high-risk individuals, but we are trying to get the dose of radiation and cost down so it has a wider application,” he says. Here are some other tests for heart disease you never knew you needed.

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New high blood pressure guidelines Now that nearly half of Americans qualify as having high blood pressure thanks to new hypertension American Heart Association guidelines, doctors hope to help more people avoid heart disease. High blood pressure is now defined as readings of 130 mm Hg and higher for systolic pressure (the bigger number), and 80 and higher for the diastolic pressure. (The old guidelines were 140/90 and higher.) In addition, the prehypertension category is now non-existent. By casting a wider net, about 14 percent more people will be diagnosed with high blood pressure—and catching this heart disease risk factor earlier gives all of us a better shot at turning things around.

Inflammation is the new high cholesterol

InflammationDmytro Zinkevych/Shutterstock

Doctors now realize that inflammation can cause a number of diseases and conditions—and heart disease is on the list. The million-dollar question is whether lowering levels of inflammation will prevent heart attacks. An NHLBI study seeks to answer this pressing question. “Many medications lower inflammation levels, including an older drug called methotrexate (MTX), and the aim of this study is to see if MTX, which is taken orally and is inexpensive, can in prevent a heart attack,” Dr. Goff says. “We should have answers within four or five years,” he says. A new anti-inflammatory drug, canakinumab, slashed the risk of heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular death in people who’d already had a heart attack, largely by cooling inflammation. People in the study had high levels of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (CRP) in their blood.

“These findings represent the end game of more than two decades of research, stemming from a critical observation that half of heart attacks occur in people who do not have high cholesterol,” says principal investigator Paul M. Ridker, MD, director of the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, US, in a news release.

Targeted healing

Medicationfunnyangel/ShutterstockPrecision or personalized medicine is a buzz word in cardiology circles. This new way of thinking about treatment aims to eliminate some of the trial and error associated with prescribing medications by factoring in genetic characteristics. This has already changed the way many cancers are treated and is among the most groundbreaking cancer research of 2017. “If we target the people who stand to benefit the most, we will get better efficacy with fewer side effects. That’s the premise and the promise of precision medicine,” says Dr. Goff. So where are we today? Doctors know that finding the correct dose warfarin—prescribed to stave off a second heart attack—is based in part on genes that alter warfarin metabolism. And some people have genes that increase the likelihood that cholesterol-lowering statins will trigger serious muscle pain and weakness, according to research in Nature. This advance knowledge can result in smarter and safer medication use.

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Easy Ways to Save Money Without Feeling the Pinch

Only drink water when you dine out


The average family of five spends upwards of $70 to dine out together, estimates Jeff Speight, CFP wealth advisor at Tanglewood Total Wealth Management, but you can easily cut that down by $12 by skipping one thing: Drinks! Chances are high you probably need more water, anyway, so why not save the juices or the glass of vino for when you arrive home and go the free route of H20 instead. If you dine out several times a week, you’re looking at nearly $100—and more hydrated bodies!

Find out 17 habits of great savers.

Focus on debt first

Man-on-phoneWAYHOME studio/shutterstock The hard truth of saving money is that before you can truly make a strategic plan, you must rid of your debt first. From credit card expenses to student loans, it’s most important to decrease what you owe ASAP to avoid paying even more through interest, according to Marcy Keckler, vice president of Financial Advice Strategy at Ameriprise Financial. “Don’t be afraid to negotiate with lenders, because in some cases all you need to do is ask.”

Figure out where the money is going


No, you don’t have to create your own spreadsheets and pie charts to analyze your spending, there are apps and websites that do the hard work for you. Try Mint, which connects all of your accounts together and can alert you to overages or areas of weakness, or Birch Finance, which in addition to keeping track of your spending will help you use your credit card rewards to your advantage. Here are new ways to save big online.

Visualize and reward yourself

Much like when your parents tempted you with an ice cream cone if you finished your homework, or the way you reward your children with an extra hour of screen time for behaving while your friends are over, having an end goal in mind can help you stay on track. As financial aid consultant Robert Skiff, Jr., explains, when your eyes are laser-focused on the prize makes it more exciting to arrive. “Saving is easy if you can see the reward. I establish monthly and yearly savings goals,” he explains. “This month I am looking to save around $500. If I reach this goal, I am going to buy myself a cool hat for $50. Every time you hit a goal reward yourself—just make sure that you don’t spend more than 20 percent of what you have saved. If you save $30,000 this year then take that $5,000 vacation. You have earned it!”

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Find a financial accountability partner

calculatorAndrey Popov/Shutterstock Just like an exercise partner motivates you to get to the gym, having cheerleaders and accountability partners in your corner can make a big difference when it comes to saving money. That’s why Ebong Eka, CPA and author, says to find someone who is smart about dollars to keep you honest. “People are more likely to commit to a goal if it’s made in writing or verbally to another person because not doing it may make them look bad. Create a saving challenge with a few friends to keep everyone on track,” she says.

Drink less trendy coffee

Though of all possible addictions, coffee is one of the least worrisome, the cost of trendy northwest coffee adds up. That’s why Speight says to downgrade your java bean preference by brewing at home if you can, or stopping by a mom-and-pop like shop that’ll save you at least a dollar. Even with that added sixty cents a day, you’re looking at an easy $20 a month back in your pocket. If you’re dairy-free and you get charged more for soy, almond, or coconut milk, keep some at the office to add once you’re at your desk, saving an additional 50 cents per cup. Win-win!

Save like you’re paying a bill

Woman-writing-checkCheryl Savan/Shutterstock

Consider the bills you rattle off each month on your financial to-do list: mortgage or rent, car payment and insurance, utility bill, cable, you name it. You know these must get paid or you’ll ensue late fees, making it more important to meet your deadline. Speight recommends applying this same logic to savings. “There’s a time-tested adage that still works well today: Pay yourself first. If your pay is fairly predictable, set up an automatic savings or investing program through your bank or a discount brokerage firm,” he recommends. “If you don’t have an emergency fund of three to six months of expenses, set up an automatic transfer from checking to savings a day or two after you get paid. If you already have an emergency fund, set up an automatic investment into a no-load balanced mutual fund. You can usually start with as little as $50 to 100 and you will build up a nice nest egg in as little as 12 to 18 months.”

Contribute more to your 401K

WalletAfrica Studio/Shutterstock One passive way to stock up more cash without feeling the pinch is to contribute at least enough to maximize your employer’s matching contribution, according to Spreight. “It’s basically free money to those who take advantage of it,” he explains. “If your employer matches fifty cents for every dollar you contribute, up to 3 percent of your earnings. If you have 6 percent of your paycheck put into your 401k, you will not miss what you don’t see and you’ll get an extra 3 percent into your account—that’s a 50 percent gain in the first year.” Find out the 10 things Millennials should do now to retire early.

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Put your budget down on paper…


…or on a spreadsheet on your computer, if digital is more your jam. However you map it out, Keckler says a written plan is often powerful and impactful, enticing you to stick to your guns and continue contributing toward your goal. It also holds you accountable for every last penny you’re spending. “Keeping track of your expenses is an easy way to help you get control of your spending. Without a written plan, you may not realize how much many of those small expenses can add up, in addition to missed opportunities to save money,” she shares. Once you have the info in black-and-white, you can start making adjustments that result in more cash in your account. Here’s how to make a budget you can actually stick to.

Give a hard look at entertainment

Streaming-servicesDavid M G/shutterstock

“Many people find themselves with a premium cable TV package as well as subscriptions to one or more streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime,” Keckler advises. “Re-evaluate which services you and your family really use, and consider paring back to those that give you the greatest enjoyment.” Here’s how to cut the cable cord—and still watch all your favorite shows.


Woman-Negotiating-on-phoneJacob Lund/ShutterstockAs intimidating as it might be to call and ask to pay less on any of your bills, Eka reminds that if you don’t inquire, you’ll never know. In fact, when faced with the possibility of losing a customer in a competitive marketplace, many companies will do what they can to buy back your loyalty. “Call your cable, phone, and Internet companies and ask for their ‘loyalty’ departments for current special offers,” she recommends. “If your current cable bill is $100/month and there is an offer for $90/month available, ask to switch and pay your savings account the difference of $10/month.”

Read on for 56 almost effortless ways to save money.

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Hotel Deals: How to Save Money Booking Rooms

Check price ranges—but don’t book yet

ShutterstockUse a site like that shows lots of hotel rates at your destination to be sure the one you choose is a good value. Once you find one you’re happy with, call the hotel instead of booking through the site, suggests Elizabeth of the blog Dutch Dutch Goose. “The hotels always offer the same price and typically either go lower or offer an extra perk like breakfast or an upgrade for booking directly with them,” she says. If you plan to dine out a lot on your trip, read these 12 simple tricks for saving money at restaurants.

Come to someone else’s rescue

ShutterstockSites like Roomer give travelers the option of selling hotel reservations if they had to cancel their trips. “You are helping someone out who is no longer traveling but can’t get out of their reservation, while still saving money on the same hotel room you would’ve bought for yourself,” says Sarah Hollenbeck, personal finance and credit card expert at (While you celebrate those savings, find out how to actually make money on vacation.)

Don’t be afraid to rebook

“Unless you’re pre-paying, hotel reservations aren’t like flight reservations. You can often cancel within 48 hours of your arrival date without penalty,” says Hollenbeck. Take the work out with a free service like Pruvo, which does the price tracking for you. If it finds a price drop in a room you’ve already booked, Pruvo will send you an email that helps you cancel the original room and rebook at for less money. Don’t miss these other 56 effortless ways to save money.

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Factor taxes and fees into the rate

ShutterstockTaxes and fees on a seven-night stay can add $100 or more to your room rate. Plus, this doesn’t include resort fees, hotel energy surcharges, parking fees, pet fees, and incidental charges that some hotels might include. Check on these fees to be sure the room rate you found is indeed as great as it sounds. Don’t miss these other 10 travel mistakes that make your vacation stressful.

Request the lowest rate

ShutterstockHotel pricing structure tends to include a standard rate, plus lower rates that aren’t typically mentioned unless a customer inquires further. Asking for the lowest rate by phone or in person is often the best way to get the lowest price. Check out these other 17 habits of people who are great at saving money.

Check room types

ShutterstockWhen quoted a room rate by phone, customers can often get that reduced just by asking if there is a room type that costs less. Typically, the least expensive room includes two double beds or one king-sized bed. The most expensive is the suite, followed by a room with two queen or king-sized beds. Here are 10 more creative ways to save money you’ve never thought of.

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Find grand openings

ShutterstockHotel lines often feature new or soon-to-open hotels on websites. These hotels make excellent stays because the staff is new and management is eager to quickly establish full occupancy and an excellent reputation. Plus, promotions often mean prices are drastically lower at these locations than other hotels in the same line.

Focus on reviews not stars

ShutterstockWhen looking for hotels, relying on the star ratings can be deceiving. These days, it is often more informative to rely on ratings by customers who have stayed in the hotel. Sites like compare hotel prices alongside reviews, so you know you’re getting what you want for the price.

Check back

ShutterstockFor a trip during peak travel times, call far in advance. However, if you don’t, not all hope is lost. As your travel dates approach, hotel prices fluctuate. Calling in August for a room over Thanksgiving Weekend may get you an unaffordable rate, but trying again in October, you might find the rate has been reduced. When there are many unsold rooms for a particular date, hotels lower the rates. Learn 11 more tips for taking your dream vacation on the cheap.

Use group savings

ShutterstockNearly every hotel offers a Triple AAA discount, and these discounts tend to be even better than other savings like Corporate Discounts and even AARP rates. For instance, you could save 10 percent at Best Western or Hyatt hotels.

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Ask about special discounts

ShutterstockHotels usually offer discounts for government and military personnel, extended stays of 15 to 30 days or more, and a senior or AARP reduction. Sometimes a hotel manager will even extend a discount for regular visitors. Also, hotels near hospitals often offer special rates for individuals who are in town for treatment, again, particularly those who need to visit regularly. These discounts are not usually offered during online booking, so call to inquire. (Heading to Disney World? Find out how to save money on a Disney vacation.)

Take advantage of your credit card

ShutterstockTake a look through the reward programs your credit cards offer. “Many credit card companies have partnered with major hotel chains and travel websites to encourage sales and offer incentives to customers,” says Hollenbeck. You might be pleasantly surprised to realize you’re entitled to perks like free rooms. Don’t miss these other 21 secrets hotels won’t tell you.

Know the area’s price trends

ShutterstockThe best price for your city depends on where you’re staying, says Meitis. “Business cities like New York and Washington tend to have higher rates during the week when business travelers are more likely to stay versus the weekend when leisure travelers may come into town,” he says. “Orlando and Miami, on the other hand, are more likely to have lower rates during the week.” If you’re locked into certain dates, figure out which areas of the city you can expect low rates, suggests Bino Chua, founder of travel blog I Wander. For instance, the French Quarter of New Orleans might be expensive on weekends, but a 15-minute walk to the business district downtown will offer substantially better prices, he says. Learn the 12 best off-season travel deals you can book now.

Consider alternatives

ShutterstockIf you’re traveling with a group, you might be better off divvying the price of a vacation home instead of shelling out for individual rooms. “Splitting the cost of a three or four bedroom home where you aren’t forced to eat in a restaurant for three meals a day can make a huge difference to your budget,” says Meitis. (Just don’t make these 14 mistakes when booking a vacation rental.) If you’re doing a solo or couples trip, consider a hostel, suggests Elizabeth. And no, they aren’t just for 20-some backpackers. Some hostels offer private rooms with their own bathrooms at a lower fare than you’d get at a standard hotel.

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Heart Health Breakthroughs That Could Save Your Life

A test that checks for genetic heart conditions

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Your genes may be working against your heart. In a landmark study, a group of international researchers pinpointed a blood test that can screen for “all known inherited heart condition genes,” according to a press release. (The research was published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Translational Medicine in 2016.) It’s a significant breakthrough because, as the researchers note, this blood test is accurate, results can be received faster, and it’s more cost-effective, too. Though it looks like it’s only available internationally for now, it’s already being used to screen patients.

Learn more about genetic tests that you may need.

Your fitness tracker may watch over your heart

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Talk about taking health tracking up a notch: In partnership with Stanford Medicine, Apple just launched their Apple Heart Study app, which uses the device’s heart rate sensor to monitor when someone may experience an irregular heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation, the company announced. “Through the Apple Heart Study, Stanford Medicine faculty will explore how technology like Apple Watch’s heart rate sensor can help usher in a new era of proactive health care central to our Precision Health approach,” Lloyd Minor, dean of Stanford University School of Medicine said in a press release. If you’re over age 22, you can download the app and sign up.

Women are less likely to get heart disease—here’s why

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While heart disease is the leading cause of death in women, their risk is still lower than men’s. Now a new study sheds light on why: it’s all about how the ovarian hormones. “This is the first study to demonstrate a link among female ovarian hormones, the circadian system which regulates the body’s day-night cycle, and the observation that women enjoy significant protection against heart disease when compared to men,” study author Tami Martino said in a press release regarding the study, which was published in Cardiovascular Research. The added protection sticks around until menopause.

This is how heart disease symptoms are different for women.

Coffee gets its day as a heart-smart beverage

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Finally, the brew you love so much in the morning can revamp its bad reputation—this is one habit you don’t have to give up. In 2017 preliminary research presented at a conference for the American Heart Association found that each cup of coffee lowers the odds of heart failure by seven percent and stroke by eight percent compared to those who avoid it. Go ahead and pour yourself a cuppa. Check out coffee’s other health benefits.

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The high blood pressure rules have changed

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Doctors used to follow the recommendation that high blood pressure equaled a reading of 140/90 mm Hg or higher. Now, new guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology have lowered that threshold to 130/80 mm Hg. Estimates say this increases the number of Americans with high blood pressure to 50 percent. If you fall into that group, there are more than 30 things you can do right now to lower your numbers.

Knowledge that two is better than one

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As the American Heart Association noted in its report on breakthroughs in heart and stroke advancement, a series of studies prove that “reducing both blood pressure and cholesterol is better than doing either alone.” Talk to your doctor about what steps—lifestyle changes and possibly medications—you can take to address both risks of heart disease.

A reason to stock up on nuts

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You may be wary of nuts—all that fat!—but almonds, cashews, and walnuts are enjoying their nutrition fame right now as disease-fighting powerhouses. That’s because in 2017, a large-scale study that looked at about 200,000 men and women found that those who ate walnuts once a week had a 19 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 23 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease. (Those who ate at least two servings of peanuts and tree nuts also enjoyed a drop in both rates of disease, too.) Here’s a list of the top five healthiest nuts.

A targeted drug with added benefits

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A new drug may represent a sea change in the way heart disease is treated. The drug, canakinumab (made by Novartis) works by reducing inflammation (rather than acting on cholesterol) and is taken just four times per year. New research notes that the drug reduced the risk of a heart attack or stroke by 15 percent compared to a placebo group. “This is the first evidence we have that if you inhibit this inflammatory process without changing cholesterol at all, you’re getting a risk reduction,” study author Paul M. Ridker, MD, told The New York Times. It also appeared to reduce lung cancer rates, too. Try adding 16 foods that fight inflammation to your diet.

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You don’t need to be “at risk” to have a heart attack

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It’s common to be warned about the risk factors for heart disease, including smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. But about one-quarter of people who suffered a heart attack had none of these risk factors, reports a 2017 study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Researchers may now have an explanation: Recent findings reported in the New York Times suggest that stem cells in the bones may mutate and then release mutated white blood cells into the blood stream. The blood cells then lodge in arteries, where they trigger inflammation and create blockages. The phenomenon is called CHIP (clonal hematopoiesis of indeterminate potential), and its every bit as dangerous as high LDL cholesterol or elevated blood pressure. Although the research is preliminary—and there’s not much you can do to prevent this risk—the explanation provides a target for treatment that may help prevent heart attacks down the road.

All the more reason to be on the lookout for these common signs of a heart attack.

There’s more to learn about HDL cholesterol

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HDL has long been dubbed the good guy when it comes to cholesterol, as it helps sweep bad cholesterol from arteries, protecting against heart disease. Doctors urge patients to increase their levels when possible. However, 2016 research challenged that view when it discovered that some people have a genetic variant that increases both HDL levels and heart disease risk, indicating that HDL numbers can’t tell the entire story, the National Institutes of Health reports. The conclusion: how HDL is functioning in arteries may be more important than individual levels when it comes to your heart.

Statins are a major player in prevention

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The cholesterol-lowering drugs are nothing new and are often touted as the “drug of the century.” Researchers are uncovering just how important they are in heart disease. In a study in Circulation, people with high LDL cholesterol who took statins were 27 less likely to develop cardiovascular disease—and 28 percent less likely to die—over the 20-year follow-up period. The evidence on their preventative power is robust.

A new way of looking at plaque deposits

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Atherosclerosis happens when deposits called plaque buildup in arteries, slowing and potentially blocking blood flow. There are two types: Hard plaque, which is made up of cholesterol and calcium, and soft plaque—an inflamed part of an artery that can burst. While experts used to believe that hard plaque was less worrisome than soft plaque when it came to heart attacks, they may be reversing their tune. After tracking the arterial plaque of 224 heart patients over a seven-year period, researchers found that the greater presence of the harder calcium plaques may be more predictive of a heart attack compared to soft plaque. Their findings, which were presented at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions in 2017, may help scientists to determine who’s at risk for heart problems and treat them most effectively.

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Gantung operasi Save the Children komited terus bantu kanak-kanak Afghanistan

DAVOS: Save the Children akan terus komited membantu kanak-kanak di Afghanistan meskipun operasi organisasi itu digantung susulan serangan pada Rabu, jelas Ketua Eksekutifnya, Helle Thorning-Schmidt.

Menyifatkan serangan itu sangat mengerikan, Thorning-Schmidt menekankan serangan terhadap pekerja sukarelawan amat tidak boleh diterima.

“Mereka ini cuba membantu kanak-kanak yang paling miskin dan dipinggirkan di dunia ini. Mereka cuba memberikan perkhidmatan kesihatan, pendidikan, perlindungan dan pemakanan kepada kanak-kanak.

“Mengapa mereka harus diserang? Kami sangat sedih dan ini tidak sepatutnya berlaku kepada pekerja bantuan,” ujarnya ketika ditemui pada persidangan Forum Ekonomi Dunia (WEF) di Davos.

Thorning-Schmidt, yang merupakan bekas Perdana Menteri Denmark, berada di Davos untuk berucap pada sesi Forum Ekonomi Dunia (WEF), namun terpaksa membatalkan rancangannya susulan serangan itu.

Pejabat Save the Chikdren di Jalalabad diserang militan Daish, menyaksikan lima terbunuh. Foto: AP

Serangan juga mencederakan 25 yang lain, dan turut memaksa pejabat NGO itu digantung operasinya. Foto: AP

Serangan turut menyaksikan pertempuran antara polis dan militan Daish berlangsung selama 10 jam. Foto: AP

Pada Rabu, militan menyerbu masuk pejabat Save the Children di timur Afghanistan, membunuh lima orang dan mencetuskan tembak-menembak dengan polis yang berlangsung hampir 10 jam.

Sementara 25 yang lain dilaporkan mengalami kecederaan.

BACA: Serangan di pejabat Save The Children, lima terbunuh

Militan Daish mengaku bertanggungjawab melancarkan serangan di Jalalabad, ibu kota wilayah Nangarhar.
Antara yang terbunuh ialah tiga pekerja NGO, kata Thorning-Schmidt.

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Serangan di pejabat Save The Children lima terbunuh

JALALABAD: Sekurang-kurangnya lima terbunuh dan 25 cedera susulan satu insiden tembak-menembak di antara pihak berkuasa dan kumpulan militan Daish di pejabat Save The Children di timur Afghanistan.

Menurut laporan awal, serangan tercetus apabila seorang pengebom bunuh diri yang memakai jaket mengandungi bahan letupan bertindak meletupkan dirinya di hadapan pejabat berkenaan pada Rabu.

Mangsa yang terkorban termasuk pekerja pertubuhan bukan kerajaan (NGO), seorang pengawal keselamatan dan seorang tentera.

Sementara itu, 50 orang awam yang lain dipercayai sempat bersembunyi di lokasi selamat.

Susulan itu, kumpulan militan Daish mengaku bertanggungjawab melakukan serangan yang berlangsung kira-kira 10 jam itu.

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