What to Buy & What to Skip This Labor Day

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In addition to barbecues and road trips, Labor Day weekend is a popular time for end-of-summer sales. While shoppers can expect plenty of noteworthy discounts on popular merchandise, some items are simply not a good deal during this holiday weekend even though retailers will try their best to convince consumers otherwise.

Navigate Labor Day sales by learning what to buy now and what to skip to avoid drowning in a sea of bad purchases! Follow this shopping guide from consumer savings expert Andrea Woroch.

Buy: Mattresses.
Holiday sales are always a good time to buy big-ticket items like mattresses and furniture. If possible, head to a local furniture or mattress store before the weekend rush to test out different options and research pre-sale prices so you can identify any misleading offers. Macy’s makes it easy to save this year — on Sept. 2, the department store launched a Labor Day furniture and mattress sale when shoppers can reserve their purchases before the sale begins.

Skip: Automobiles.
Since Labor Day falls at the beginning of the month, car dealerships are less likely to offer a big discount despite what their banners tell you. A better time to shop for a vehicle is at the end of the month when sales associates are more motivated to negotiate in order to meet sales quotas. Otherwise, hold off until October when dealerships will be pushing excess 2015 inventory at even deeper discounts!

Buy: Summer Clothes.
It’s hard to plan ahead to next summer when you’re focused on back-to-school, but now is the time to stock up on warm-weather essentials. Major retailers will reduce already-discounted summer items during the popular holiday shopping event, so look out for deals on swimsuits, sandals, linen suits and other lightweight apparel. Make sure you also look for Labor Day coupons to take advantage of these deep discounts from sites like Coupon Sherpa. For example, you can currently take an extra 25% off clearance items and 20% off sale items with this Lord and Taylor coupon code.

Skip: Back-to-School Apparel.
While we’re still in the thick of the back-to-school season, kid’s fall clothing isn’t really a necessity right now as summer temperatures will continue into the first few weeks of the new school year. The best time to buy sweaters, jeans, outerwear and boots is in October. Wait for Columbus Day sales to scoop up the biggest savings!

Buy: Luxury Goods.
If there’s a luxury-brand watch or handbag you’ve been drooling over, Labor Day is one of few shopping events during which you may score a lower price. Like other apparel and accessory retailers, luxury brands need to clear out summer inventory to make room for fall must-haves. Make sure you compare sales before you buy, and check out sites like TheRealReal.com for designer goods at cut-rate prices.

Skip: Halloween/Harvest Decor.
Though summer isn’t technically over until later this month, retailers are already promoting fall in a big way with Halloween and harvest-themed decor lining store shelves. While you may see a small discount on these decorations, don’t let the temptation of the season entice you to buy just yet. In fact, the best time to buy Halloween decor is the last couple of days before the big event.

Buy: Outdoor Entertaining Essentials.
The season for backyard parties and barbecues may be coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean you can’t outfit your outdoor oasis with new entertaining essentials. End-of-season sales will offer savings of 40 to 60 percent on grills, patio furniture, umbrellas and servingware. In addition to in-store sales, make sure to look for these big-ticket items online, too: Overstock.com, for example, is offering up to 70% off outdoor furniture and decor, with many items shipping free.

Skip: TVs.
On the cusp of football season, retailers are promoting some seemingly good offers on TVs to help shoppers kick off the opening game with a new big screen. However, the best two times to buy a new TV are during Black Friday weekend and at the end of January in time for Super Bowl. If there’s a certain model you’re eyeing, keep tabs on sales using TrackIf.com so you don’t miss out when the price drops.

Buy: Luggage.
With the busy travel season behind us, you’ll find a bevvy of deals on travel goods like suitcases, duffle bags and other accessories. Look for deals on luggage sets to get the best bang for your buck. You’ll save even more by shopping online, so compare prices using PriceGrabber.com and scope out deals at sites like eBags.

Skip: Smartphones.
Apple will likely release the newest iPhone on Wednesday, September 9, so hold off until this news is announced before updating or buying a new smartphone. Once the latest device is released, you’ll find huge discounts on old iPhone models, plus additional savings on Android devices competing with Apple to make sales.

Gust post by Andrea Woroch, a money-saving expert who transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers by sharing smart spending tips and personal finance advice. As a sought-after media source, she has been featured among such top news outlets as Good Morning America, Today, CNN, Dr. OZ, New York Times, MONEY Magazine, Consumer Reports, Forbes and many more. In addition, Andrea’s stories have been published among leading publications and sites such as Yahoo!, AOL Daily Finance, CNN Money, Huffington Post, LearnVest and New York Daily News. Check out Andrea’s demo reel or visit her website at AndreaWoroch.com for more information about booking an interview or requesting an original written article. You can also follow her on Twitter or Facebook for daily money tips.

Descendants Activity Sheets

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The new Disney Descendants DVD was released recently.

Meet the next generation of villains in Disney’s DESCENDANTS!

Imprisoned on the Isle of the Lost, home of the most infamous villains who ever lived, the kids of Maleficent, the Evil Queen, Jafar and Cruella De Vil have never ventured off the island… until now.

Sent to idyllic Auradon to attend prep school alongside the children of beloved Disney heroes, these villainous kids must execute a plan that helps their evil parents achieve “world domination” once again!

Will Maleficent’s daughter and the other rebel teens follow in their rotten parents’ footsteps or will they choose to embrace their innate goodness and save the kingdom?

You can pick up a copy of the Descendants DVD from Amazon and enjoy these FREE Descendants Activity Sheets!

 

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5 Labor Day Car Repair Mistakes

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This weekend, more than 35 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home, with many  heading off on a road trip even though their car is not in tip-top shape.

What can you do to make sure that your family’s road trip is as safe as possible?  How can you avoid getting overcharged for the preventative work that your car really needs?

The car repair experts at RepairPal — a nationwide network of certified, pre-screened repair shops on a mission to help you find a fair price for quality work — have come up with “The RepairPal Guide to Your Safest Labor Day Road Trip”:

1.  Do a Road Trip Check-up
Because unexpected breakdowns are usually much more costly than preventative work, get your vehicle inspected by a shop you trust before you hit the road.

2.  Don’t Gamble
Because walking into the first shop that you find on Google is like rolling the dice, do your homework by searching for a shop with certified technicians.

3.  Know the Magic Number
Research average repair prices before visiting the shop and note any prices much higher or lower than the average (which may signal low quality parts or potential overbilling).

4.  Think Ahead
Because a poorly-executed repair could leave you coming back weeks later, always choose a shop that offers an excellent warranty in case anything goes wrong.

5.  Don’t Trust all Reviews
While review sites like Yelp and Foursquare are great for finding a good burger, fake reviews and unknowledgeable customers make these types of sites unsuitable to select an auto shop.

As a free resource, RepairPal independently certifies auto repair shops nationwide, provides data on the average cost of each repair, and offers trusted customer reviews — eliminating the need to shop around.

American Girl Doll Sets $79 (Full Size)

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CaptureThere is an American Girl Sale happening right now with dolls priced at just $79!

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*Saving Dollars and Sense Tip: The American Girl website is getting slammed.  It will take some patience to get through.

Just use the American Girl Coupon Code AG9TODAY  to see what’s available today while supplies last only.

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Shop early for the best selection.

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino

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Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Frap

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino

I don’t know about you, but I have a weakness for all the pumpkin recipes once the first signs of fall become clear to me.

Last week was chilly and all I could think of was one of these yummy treats.

This recipe makes about 2 medium size drinks.

pumpkin spice cap ingredients

Ingredients

1 cup low fat milk
1/2 cup Vanilla Ice Cream (Strong coffee for Coffee based drink)
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 to 1/2 cup simple syrup – or to taste* (recipe below)
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or All Spice
1 to 2 cups crushed ice
Redi Whip (Homemade Whipped Cream)
Pumpkin pie spice for garnish

Simple Syrup Recipe

In a medium saucepan combine 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water. Heat on medium until sugar is dissolved.

Directions

pumpkin spice iced cap

Pour the first 5 ingredients into a blender.

Mix on medium until thoroughly combined.

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Add ice and blend until the frappuccino is smooth and without chunks of ice.

Pumpkin Pie Iced cappuchino

 

Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.

You might also be interested in some of my other recent recipe posts.

Follow Kristie (Saving Dollars and Sense)’s board Saving Dollars and Sense on Pinterest.

Gift Basket Ideas for Any Occassion

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Gift Basket Ideas

Do-it-Yourself gift baskets make for great creative gifts for many occasions!

Here are a few ideas to create your own gift baskets:

Movie Date Night

Create a movie night in a basket gift that is perfect to give to newlyweds for a pre-planned date night. Include in the basket your favorite romantic comedy, a box of popcorn, theater size candy and bottled sodas. For less than $10 you can give a newlywed couple everything they need for a great movie date at home.

Pregnancy Survival Kit

For an expecting mother, put together a basket of things that will help make her pregnancy more comfortable and enjoyable. Include items such as cocoa butter belly cream to reduce stretch marks, ginger peach tea for morning sickness, chocolate bars for late night cravings and a book of funny and uplifting pregnancy advice such as The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy.

Hostess with the Mostest

Put together a gift basket full of great kitchen gadgets and items. Some items that you could include are a cute apron, a rolling pin, a monogrammed bamboo cutting board, silicone or wooden cooking utensils and a cookbook. This would make a great and creative gift for a housewarming party, a wedding shower or just a birthday gift for the cooking lover in your life.

DIY Spa Day

Create a bundle of spa type items that would make a great bridal shower gift or birthday gift. Include in this basket your favorite facial mask, bath beads and salts, a gel eye mask, bubble bath and even a homemade CD with your favorite chill out music to play for a relaxing evening.

Heat Up the Romance

For a lingerie party, you can include a couple extras with your racy undergarments. Add to your gift a couple of candles, massage oils, a home made CD of romantic songs and even a book with tips to heat up the bedroom. This would make a great gift for a lingerie party or just to give to your best girlfriend before her wedding.

Handy Man or Woman

For the DIY-er in your life, a gift basket of tools and other DIY necessities is a great creative present! Include in this gift items such as a drill, a set of basic hand tools, picture hanging kits, a tool belt and even a DIY book or magazine subscription. This would be a great gift bundle for a house warming party or for a groom’s Honey Do shower gift.

Gourmet Foodie

Have someone in your life that loves gourmet foods? Shop around for interesting and eclectic food items to put together as one gift. Look for infused cooking oils and vinegars, interesting salts and spices, and even ethnic or rare snacks and foods. A good place for look for these types of items is in stores such as Ross, TJ Maxx and Marshall’s. These styles of baskets would make great gifts for many different occasions.

Wine Sommelier

For the wine lover or expert in your life, put together a basket specific for that hobby. Include in the basket things such as a good quality corkscrew, the latest wine aerating gadget, a set of personalized wine glasses and even a bottle of nice local wine. This gift basket would be a great hostess or house warming gift. Or just a gift for any occasion for anyone who loves wine.

College Essentials

If you have a child or loved one heading off to college, create a gift basket of college essentials. You could include in the basket things such as school supplies, nice sheets for their dorm room, or a new backpack. A great gift for college students is gift cards to local restaurants. Google search the area they will be attending college to find the restaurant chains in that area and purchase a variety of gift cards for them. Free food is a starving student’s favorite gift.

These are just a few ideas of creative gift baskets and bundles that can be put together for great gifts.

These baskets and items can range in price from really inexpensive to as much as your budget will allow.

What are some of your favorite ideas for gift basket items?