May 24, 2018

T.J. Maxx, Marshalls Offer Deals

T.J. Maxx, Marshalls Offer Deals

The two stores are affiliated with Marmaxx Group, so they are able to negotiate what they pay for goods and what savings they can offer to customers.

There are good reasons that bargain-seekers shop with T.J. Maxx and Marshalls outlets. The two stores are affiliated with Marmaxx Group, the largest retailer of clothing and home décor in the country, so they are able to negotiate what they pay for goods and what savings they can offer to customers. Their usual discounts are 20 to 60 percent off original retail prices.

They keep prices low by bypassing agreements with their providers to buy back a percentage of the merchandise if it doesn’t sell within a certain period of time. So they can offer customers a lower price than retailers that agree to the “buy-back.”

T.J. Maxx and Marshalls hire aggressive buyers who pay attention to more than seasonal factors. If a product meets the quality standards and they can get it at a good price, they buy it. The practice ensures an ongoing flow of merchandise.

Marmaxx works with thousands of vendors around the world and they use past experience to make quick purchases on bargain items. They may buy what other retailers might consider “odds and ends.” They are not as fussy about such things as size ranges, etc. If they think they can sell the item, they buy it.

Different shoppers have different opinions about the two retail outlets, depending on what they are shopping for. T.J. Maxx offers fine jewelry and accessories and in some of its stores, The Runway is a high-end discount designer. Marshalls has a full line of family footwear and a junior department called The CUBE.

Knowing something about the price tags at the stores can help shoppers find the best deals. A yellow price tag indicates a deep discount; white tags are regular-priced items; purple signifies items from “The Runway” which offers desirable, high-end goods. The latter are harder to find, but there are some available.

Tuesdays through Fridays may be the best shopping days at these stores. Some shoppers regularly bet that the discounts will be more advantageous on Wednesday mornings. January and July are the months when end-of-season merchandise is offered. Prices are adjusted downward more often in these months.

If you comparison shop, be aware that T.J. Maxx and Marshalls don’t do a good job with such information. The “compare at” prices may tend to be inflated. Use the Amazon app to see comparisons.

The stores discourage haggling. Irregular items are clearly marked and the price takes it into consideration. Damaged items may give shoppers some leeway to bargain with management, but expectations should be on the conservative side.

Discounted gift cards are offered in place of coupons, category promotions or store-wide sales. Savings can vary, but shoppers can expect to shave at least another 5 percent off the price by using the gift cards, which are available through websites such as Raise.com, GiftCardGranny.com and CardPool.com. The cards can be used at T.J.Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods.

How To Plan A Savings Plan

Savings Plan

Adopt a lifestyle that allows you to save, rather than saving what’s left when your over-the-top lifestyle is dictating the spending.

When the time comes that you are finally a little ahead of the bills and want to make the best use of your financial “leftovers,” how do you proceed?

Saving with a concrete plan in mind will avoid the haphazard trickle of savings that too many people rely on to enhance their investment earnings. A specific objective is preferable to random savings.

Turning things topsy-turvy for awhile may help. In other words, take the savings off the top and pay bills with what’s left, forcing yourself to avoid frivolous or unplanned spending. Obviously, you do this based on long experience of what your fixed costs are likely to be. If left unchecked, our perceived “needs” expand to take up the whole paycheck. Immediate gratification is a disease that grows over time. Curb yourself.

The very best definition of “savings,” in this scenario, is “living below your means.” The urge to spend becomes a habit if you don’t control it. Adopt a lifestyle that allows you to save, rather than saving what’s left when your over-the-top lifestyle is dictating the spending. When you get a raise at work, automatically raise the amount you save, rather than putting the whole increase into lifestyle escalation.

Make it harder to spend. Tuck the credit cards into the back of a drawer for a while and operate on a cash-only basis for awhile. Paying cash makes the expenditure immediate, instead of looking forward to a bill that may seem a long way off.

With tax-filing season in full bloom, plan ahead how to spend your refund, if any. Use the windfall to supercharge your savings. The average return, according to the IRS, is $2,895. Half of that, or at least a good share, would go a long way toward reaching a goal of having three to six months’ of savings as a healthy cushion when things go wrong financially. Having this amount stashed in a savings account or money-market fund, before you start toward other investment goals, is a wise move.
The alternative in a financial emergency is to tap into retirement accounts that may impose a penalty on withdrawals.

Once the basics are set, the next savings strategy is to invest in such things as stocks and bond mutual funds or ETFs. Sticking to low-fee investments such as index funds and ETFs reduced your investment costs, opening the way to higher returns. Over decades that is akin to saving an extra percentage or more of salary each year.

But all of these tracks to greater savings have to begin with a viable plan and then sticking to it, monitoring along the way to stay on track. It’s the only way to assure financial security now and when you are retired.

What Would You Do With An Extra $500

Extra 500

Consider how to get the most benefit from extra cash by looking at short-term investment options.

What if you found yourself with $500 that wasn’t committed to any part of your budget. Could happen. An income tax return, for instance.

Regardless of the source of your windfall, it’s time to consider how to get the most benefit from it by looking at short-term investment options. Having one or more of these in your financial profile is a buffer against the unexpected.

Carefully look at the possibilities before putting your $500 on the line. The most common short-term options

• A term deposit, sometimes referred to as a certificate of deposit, means you put an amount into an account at a financial institution, with a fixed term. Maturity dates can be set for as short a time as six months or extend to five years. Most institutions charge a penalty if you close the account before the term is filled. In most instances, the institution pays a higher dividend on a term deposit than on a traditional savings account. You can increase the value of such a deposit by “laddering,” or opening multiple accounts that mature at different times, anywhere from a year to five years. When a deposit matures, you can flip it into a new term account. Creating a train of short-term deposits allows you to access money when you need it on a regular basis while still earning good dividends.

• Look at mutual funds, an investment program that takes money contributed by many people and putting it into securities. Beginning investors may be particularly interested because mutual funds are easy to understand and to buy. They are affordable and offer a variety of categories and types. Consider where you feel most comfortable placing your $500.

• Peer-to-peer lending puts people with money to invest together with people or organizations that need to borrow that money. These lending platforms operate online, so they have lower overhead and fewer transaction costs. Three- to five-year investments usually earn higher returns. As is usually the case, that means higher risk. It is possible the borrower could default and the debt go to collection, or be lost entirely. Diversity is the best approach. Putting small amounts of money into several loans minimizes the possibility of damage to your portfolio.

Whatever you decide to do with your $500, don’t leap before carefully studying all of the possibilities. Be familiar with the institution in which you intend to invest your money. If you are uncertain, find a financial advisor who is familiar with the answers to your questions.

Ways Seniors Can Save Money

Seniors Save Money

Millions of America’s senior citizens are looking for ways to save money now that they are living on retirement income.

Millions of America’s senior citizens are looking for ways to save money now that they are living on retirement income. There are things they can do, including:

• Cut the cord on monthly cable costs. You could save up to $100 per month or more by switching to Netflix or Amazon Prime Video subscriptions. But you can avoid even those fees by switching to an antenna that can relay news, weather, sitcoms, cooking shows, kid’s shows, sports and movies for free. Most broadcast stations offer additional regional programming free. The Clear View antenna, for example, is one that attaches to your current TV antenna jack. The new antennas are greatly improved from your old “rabbit ears.” Look at the option that will best serve you.
• If you are traveling, there are many discounts that will cut the costs. Many hotels and motels routinely offer discounts for seniors, usually in the range of 10 to 15 percent. Shop around a little before settling on away-from-home accommodations. Booking.com can help you find the most economical choices.
• If you own your home, investing in a home security system could save you money on insurance. Savings of 10 to 20 percent are offered by some insurance companies to clients who install a high-functioning home alarm system. Some alarm companies also offer perks for the purchase of their systems. An alarm system also has the benefit of putting seniors within easy reach of help in an emergency.
• Cruise lines provide a huge variety of discounts for seniors. Check and compare among the leading cruise providers to see where you can get the best deals. A little time spent researching could make your vacation funds go a lot further.
• A lot of the top retailers give senior discounts. Each store decides on when the discount kicks in, some setting the limit at 50 years old and others at 55 or 60. Some of the retailers have regular days on which seniors are treated to discounts. Don’t be shy about asking.

What Do You Want For Retirement

Retirement

As a rule of thumb, the more you are willing to give up early on, the faster you will reach the goal.

How Much Cash Do You Want In Retirement?

Ever tried to calculate how much money you would like to have to live on in the way you want to in retirement? Fifty thousand a year? $150,000? Maybe $500,000?

If you want to try to figure it out, subtract out income you currently have from your job and any other income sources. Divide the figure by .04 to see what assets it would take to support that level of annual income. Many financial planners use the .04 figure based on experience that says you could withdraw 4 percent of your money each year and put it into an account that would generate enough, over time, to maintain its value after calculating for inflation.

For example, if you think you would need to make $80,000 per year to live as you like. In fact, you only work part-time and make $20,000 per year. You assume that you can expect about $15,000 per year in Social Security. Take the $80,000 and subtract $35,000 and you’ll have $45,000. Divide that by the .04 and you’ll have a figure of $1,125,000. That’s the amount you would need to earn the other $65,000 from your investments if you want never to run out of money.

The next factor you need to decide on is when you will be wanting the money. If you are 30 and want to retire at 65, you have 35 years to get the money lined up. Use an online calculator such as calculators online, to figure it out how much in monthly savings you will need to reach the goal. Such a calculator also can guide you in different scenarios, showing how long it will take to reach your goals under different savings and investing plans.

Assuming an 8 percent return on your investments, you’d have to set aside $754.85 per month until retirement. (If you had started at age 25, the amount would be only $322.26 per month. If you had begun at 18, the monthly cost would have been $181.09. That’s the power of compounding.)

If you aren’t expecting to leave anything to family or friends, a charitable remainder trust could be a great choice. The savings figure would be much lower because this model assumes that you would maintain the $1,125,000 fund in perpetuity.

Many financial planners will estimate your lifespan and create a program that will see your money run out at your 85th birthday, or longer.

You can expedite your goal by saving more each month. Say $300 per month extra could help you arrive at the goal much, much earlier, possibly decades. That may take some sacrifice – a used vehicle instead of new, fewer meals out, less expensive clothing, etc. Your priorities are your own and no one can make this decision except you. But as a rule of thumb, the more you are willing to give up early on, the fast your will reach the goal. Avoiding unnecessary debt is one of the objectives you should set early and stick with.

Try to look ahead as much as you can. If your part of the country appears to be headed for depressed conditions, move to a place where the economic picture is more rosy. If that seems drastic, consider: If you are not willing to be inconvenienced for the chance of a better life, then you must be content to live in poverty.

Making a good beginning toward your retirement goals is wise. Passing up car ownership into your 20s may save you the costs of upkeep, fuel and insurance. Instant gratification can be costly.

Spouses Who Lie bout Finances

Spouses Who Lie bout Finances

If the offending partner is not willing to address underlying issues and make a real effort to change things, it may be hard to move forward.

Managing money is one of the top concerns couples list when they talk about problem areas. Throw in a situation in which one – or both – of the partners are not truthful about money matters, and you have the makings of marital disaster.

The lies can be about any aspect of the couples’ money management, but often include hiding spending on unplanned shopping, gambling or taking on additional debt without consulting the partner. It’s the cause of a lot of anguish in many marriages. Some experts go so far as to call it a form of infidelity.

If you suspect that your spouse is failing to tell the whole truth about finances, what do you do? Before confronting the spouse, experts advise, find out as much as you can about your current financial condition. Check bank statements over the past year to see if the untruths have been going on for an extended period. Try to have specific examples of the issues you want to discuss.

It is possible that your assumptions are not correct. Discuss your concerns in a calm way and listen to what the offending spouse has to say. It is possible that lies about money are related to other problems, such as shopping addictions, gambling or possible criminal behavior. You may find that as a couple you have more debt issues than you supposed.

Could be that the problems are so serious that you consider them a deal breaker. The answer is particular to the two persons involved. Whenever there is a breach of trust, healing may take a long time. If the offending partner is not willing to address underlying issues and make a real effort to change things, it may be hard to move forward.

If you choose to remain together, make definite plans for handling your money. Considering separating your accounts with each taking responsibility for certain expenditures. Or let the responsible partner have control until trust has been re-established.

A budget is the easiest way to account for money. In most cases, each partner would be expected to make the same contribution toward shared expenses. The person who has lied about money issues should be willing to share records that account for his or her money handling.

Seeking counseling may be necessary if there is evidence of an addiction related to money. Such addictions are as real as those related to drugs or alcohol.

If the marriage is to be salvaged, there must come a time to forgive and forget the issues so that you can move beyond them. That may take some time.

Giving And Getting For Christmas

Giving and Getting for Christmas

Creating a budget before the holidays arrive and sticking with it is the best solution.

Even though most people subscribe to the wisdom that giving is better than receiving at Christmas, the same people also hope that the gifts they receive will be what they want.

Some assure themselves of the right gifts by buying them for themselves. Nothing wrong in that as long as they keep the costs in control.

TD Bank surveyed holiday shoppers and reported that the average amount they expected to spend for gifts was $500. But when all is said and done, one in five (one in three in the Millennial group ) admit to spending more than they had planned — $263 on average. A lot of the overage is consumed in buying items for themselves. In doing so, these shoppers may sacrifice the ability to reach other financial goals they have set., such as building emergency savings or increasing retirement funds.

Creating a budget before the holidays arrive and sticking with it is the best solution. The problem, though, is that while shopping, the shoppers see more items they would like for themselves.

Five ways to assure that you get the gifts you’d like without breaking your own bank:

Ask for gift cards. That might have been a breach of holiday etiquette in years past, but it has become more common. More than half of Americans (56 percent overall, 67 percent of Millennials) say they do it. Consumers who were surveyed said they would rather get cards than traditional gifts. Be sure to use the value of the gift card to purchase what it is you want. You can convert the value of the cards into savings if that is your goal.

Make a list and check it twice. Presenting a list of preferred gifts to your family and close friends will increase your chances of getting what you need/want.

Sell gifts that you do not care to keep. Consider using eBay, OfferUp or Craigslist to sell non-clothing items. Shoes and clothing can be sold trough poshmark.com or thredup.com. Unused gift cards can be swapped out or exchanged via sites such as giftcardsgranny.com.

Or you can start at the beginning and include the items you want for yourself in the initial budget. That will only work if you are honest about how your self-gifts will affect your overall spending. You’ll have to decide if you will have to trim your list if you are on it.

Start early. Review what you did last holiday season. Open a separate savings account that anticipates what you are likely to spend this go-round. Automating the deposits into this account will spare you the temptation to bypass the arrangement to accommodate an immediate desire. Putting the savings into a high-yield account will increase the holiday fund and possibly allow you to shift the excess money into an emergency or retirement account when the season is over.