Breakfast cereal prices are rising

John Matarese  |  March 22, 2023

We are all familiar with soaring egg prices in the past year. But there’s another grocery aisle that is now making breakfast more expensive: the cereal aisle. Shopper Kate Swearengin has cut back on the amount of breakfast cereal she buys these days. “It’s expensive,” she said. “If you have several children, and the kids …

Woman holds smartphone showing Facebook

Will you soon have to pay to use Facebook? Meta Verified, explained

John Matarese  |  March 21, 2023

If you’re stumped by recent messages claiming you may soon have to pay for Facebook, you are not alone. Rumors like this have circulated for a decade. But, in recent weeks, Meta’s plans for a new paid subscription service make it appear you may soon be asked to give over a credit card number. So …

Home for sale sign

How to compete with all-cash offers when buying a home

John Matarese  |  March 20, 2023

Hopeful home buyers entering the housing market this year are getting hit by headwinds on all sides: near-record high home prices, along with brutal mortgage rates that are double what they were two years ago. But there’s another trend making things tough for buyers: competing with “all cash” offers from investors and well-heeled buyers ready …

A free fix should finally end Hyundai and Kia thefts

John Matarese  |  March 19, 2023

There is good news for owners of tens of thousands of Hyundai vehicles and Kias as the cars continue to be at a high risk of theft. A free solution is now on its way that the manufacturers say should stop the viral challenge that has led to thefts nationwide. That comes as a relief …

Woman sleeps comfortably in bed

Time change ruining your sleep? Simple ways to fall asleep faster

John Matarese  |  March 18, 2023

As the clocks spring forward, many people will lose sleep due to the adjustment. If you’re worried about getting enough shut-eye, there are simple adjustments you can make. Sure, a new mattress or pillows can be great for improving your sleep quality but a new bed will easily cost over $1,000. Some other purchases could …

Data breach? Here’s what you should do immediately

John Matarese  |  March 7, 2023

The number of victims impacted by data breaches has skyrocketed into the hundreds of millions, even though the latest data shows slightly fewer data breaches occurred last year compared to 2021. And it is continuing in 2023: in January, T-Mobile announced a data breach impacting 37 million accounts. The US Marshals Service, meantime, just reported …

Woman puts tip in jar

Tipping fatigue: Are requests for tips getting out of control?

John Matarese  |  March 6, 2023

As more businesses adopt new high-tech payment methods, the more you’re asked to pay up. The result: whether you’re paying for a service in person or on your phone, you’re much more likely these days to encounter three little words: “add a tip.” But a growing number of consumers wonder if these 15% to 25% …

How to save money on car insurance

John Matarese  |  February 28, 2023

Even though the inflation rate is finally starting to come down, that’s not the case for your auto insurance. That’s because of higher medical costs if you’re in an accident, along with the rising cost of car parts and auto repair in general. At Boruske Brothers Collision Center, they are hammering out dents and replacing …

Flip phones are back—but are they worth it?

John Matarese  |  February 27, 2023

If you are in the market for a new smartphone, you have another option these days: new folding phones. Remember those flip phones from the 90s and early 2000s? Samsung is now out with foldable and “flip”-style phones that combine nostalgia with some impressive new technology. But these devices aren’t without a few kinks, with …

Used cars on car lot

Watch out for these common scams when buying a used car

John Matarese  |  February 22, 2023

With used car prices out of reach for many buyers, many people are looking for cheaper cars offered on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and other sites. The problem, though, is that you may have no way of knowing where that car really came from, or what issues you may discover after buying it. In Luciano Ciambelli’s …

How to avoid paying annoying and expensive bank fees

John Matarese  |  February 20, 2023

With prices as high as they are on so many things this year, no one wants to throw away money on unnecessary fees. But have you ever gotten money from an ATM and wondered why you have to pay money just to get your money? Out-of-network ATM charges are just one of many bank fees …

How to do Valentine’s Day on a budget—without looking cheap

John Matarese  |  February 14, 2023

Tuesday is Valentine’s day, and if you haven’t ordered flowers yet, it is going to be very expensive. But the good news is that there are many last-minute gifts that show your love without breaking the bank. A classic that almost everyone loves: chocolate. Tracy Oenbrink is a chocolate shop manager at Aglamesis Brothers Gourmet …

How to Save Money on Valentine’s Day Flowers Amid High Prices

John Matarese  |  February 13, 2023

Flowers are a go-to gift for Valentine’s Day, but if you wait too long this year, the prices might just break your heart. A dozen roses can cost $50, $60 or $70 at many florists these days as inflation takes its toll. When factoring in delivery costs, roses can now cost over $100. But other …

How to Save Money on Your Super Bowl Party

John Matarese  |  February 11, 2023

Even if your favorite team isn’t playing this Super Bowl Sunday, there’s always something to look forward to, like a gathering with friends and all that party food. But, prices on Super Bowl snacks will add up this year, thanks to grocery inflation. So we found some ways to save on food and party supplies. …

Beware of sports merchandise scams before the Super Bowl and March Madness

John Matarese  |  February 10, 2023

The Super Bowl is just days away, and March Madness is right around the corner. And no matter if your team is in the big game or not, fans are always up for some new gear. But before you buy — whether it’s gear worn in the Super Bowl, items signed by your favorite players …

Contractor holds wood beams

Planning a home project? Here’s how supplies and prices will be in 2023

John Matarese  |  February 8, 2023

If you’re thinking of fixing up your home this spring or summer, you are not alone. With high home prices and mortgage rates this year, many homeowners are choosing to remodel instead of move. So you may want to know what supplies and prices are like this spring, after two years of long delays and …

Cash money on money counter

Take the Frugal February challenge and rebuild your savings after the holidays

John Matarese  |  February 7, 2023

Many people just wrapped up Dry January as a way to cut back on drinking this year. Rachel Vogel is among those who avoided alcohol during the last month. “I drank lots of water, lots of lemonade, lots of Diet Coke,” she said. She is now ready to try out “Frugal February.” “I think it’s …

Scammers are luring job-hunters with fake remote jobs

John Matarese  |  February 6, 2023

Whether full-time or part-time, work-from-home job postings are still in high demand, especially as more companies ask workers to return to the office in 2023. Unfortunately, scammers are taking notice. If you are hunting on popular job sites, the Federal Trade Commission is urging caution. Tracy Bickel found her dream job a few weeks ago, …

Family walks in airport terminal with suitcases

How to navigate Airbnb’s changes to avoid confusion

John Matarese  |  January 31, 2023

If you’re looking to rent a home or condo for spring travel, you might notice some changes on Airbnb, as well as some other home rental websites. They are designed to help travelers and hosts by making booking simpler and reducing surprise fees. Caitlin Ignatowski, who rents out a small suite in the back of …

It’s not just eggs—other foods are also more expensive right now

John Matarese  |  January 25, 2023

You may have heard that inflation is down overall this month. So, why are groceries still so expensive? If you talk to almost any shopper at the checkout line these days, you’ll get an earful about grocery prices. “It’s really bad. [It] went up so high,” Willa Jackson said. Rich Goldman has noticed his weekly …

Shopper uses mobile phone at grocery store

Salvage grocery stores are booming as food prices soar

John Matarese  |  January 24, 2023

As Americans face rising prices, business is booming at salvage grocery stores. Places like Esh’s, a market in Colorado, do things differently to make groceries more affordable. Among all the items they sell, some items might be nearing their expiration date. In some cases, packages are slightly damaged. Other stores would often throw the items …

Accountant works on taxes

Tax season is here—here’s how to prepare and avoid a refund delay

John Matarese  |  January 23, 2023

Monday, Jan. 23 is the official start of the 2023 tax filing season, meaning that it is now time to get your tax information in order. Filing early is especially important these days if you don’t want a possible delay in getting your tax refund. Justus Lowe was filing his taxes for the first time, …

Storage unit full of stuff

Storage unit damage: Who is responsible if insects or rodents attack?

John Matarese  |  January 20, 2023

Too often, you don’t think about needing a protection plan until it’s too late. But, if you are renting a storage unit, or considering renting one, you need to hear what happened to one woman whose items were damaged. Kara McCormick needed storage during a recent move. So she rented a unit at an Extra …

Hands shake after buying car

These used cars are no longer considered affordable

John Matarese  |  January 19, 2023

Used car and truck prices are dropping, according to the latest government data. However, a new report says some popular models once considered to be “affordable” are now anything but. Robbie Marx is looking for a used van, and says one he was looking over for $16,900 will probably sell fast. “When you do find …

Aldi grocery store

The $13 Aldi dress everyone is talking about

John Matarese  |  January 18, 2023

Shoppers go to discount stores like Aldi for lower prices on produce, milk and eggs. But these days, some savvy shoppers are also picking up some affordable fashion items along the way. Have you seen “the dress?” No, not Princess Diana’s famous black “revenge dress,” or J-Lo’s revealing Versace dress she wore to the Grammy’s. …

Accountant works on taxes

Why you can expect a smaller tax refund this year

John Matarese  |  January 17, 2023

When it comes to tax season, there’s really only one thing most of us look forward to: the possibility of a tax refund. But, many refunds may not be as high as last year, due to tax rule changes and the end of stimulus programs. Kim Davis, who made an annual Goodwill donation, said, “There …

Man performs push-up.

How to Save Money on Home Workout Equipment and Gear

John Matarese  |  January 11, 2023

Do you have that “new year, new you” mentality right now? Many others do, too. If so, you might be considering new exercise equipment for your home. But, you don’t have to pay thousands of dollars to have that home exercise area. January is a busy time at Play it Again Sports, a resale chain …

Gift cards for many stores and services

Here’s why you should use your holiday gift cards as soon as possible

John Matarese  |  January 9, 2023

If you are like many families, you probably have a fresh stack of gift cards from the holiday season. But what’s the chance you’ll actually use all those shiny new gift cards? John Holland already suspects that some of his will never get used. “I’ve still got some in my wallet from last year,” he …

How to achieve your financial New Year’s resolutions

John Matarese  |  January 7, 2023

Whether you’re hoping to pay down some debt or save for retirement, most of us have some money goals in mind heading into a new year. But how can you make those money resolutions stick? It’s easy to plan them, but tough to keep on track, and many people drop their great plans by the …

How safe are mobile wallets?

John Matarese  |  January 3, 2023

Your GPS, your music, your camera and your friends’ phone numbers all live on your smartphone these days. But, there’s another feature not everyone is taking advantage of: your mobile wallet. It has now become standard on iPhones and most Androids. So should you use it and is it secure? Erin Hinebrock is sold on …

Top scams to watch out for in 2023

John Matarese  |  January 2, 2023

Scammers are constantly looking for new ways to tap into your accounts, steal your information and grab your money. The Better Business Bureau is issuing alerts about some of the top scams to watch for this coming year of 2023. Puppy for sale scam Bridget Huddleston thought she’d have a new puppy to start the …

Champagne glasses toast

Budget-friendly champagne alternatives for New Year’s Eve

John Matarese  |  December 30, 2022

For most people, buying Champagne is something that happens once a year: for the midnight toast on New Year’s Eve. But, you don’t have to have a Champagne budget for a Champagne taste. Molly Wellman is a professional mixologist, who has been featured in Esquire magazine and other publications for her unique drinks. For New …

Retailers are tightening their return policies this year

John Matarese  |  December 28, 2022

The day after Christmas kicks off a marathon week of holiday returns. But, be warned: Not all returns these days are simple, as some retailers tighten their once-generous policies. Alice Yu recently needed to return a $30 pair of leggings, but couldn’t believe what the cashier wanted. “I had to provide my name, address, phone …

How to Save Money on Your Holiday Meals This Year

John Matarese  |  December 20, 2022

With just a little ways to go before Christmas, this is the time to hit the grocery store to prepare for all those holiday meals. But, that Christmas dinner may be more expensive than ever this year, as a result of inflation. They are feeling that at the Bon Bonerie bakery, where they are cranking …

What to Know About ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Plans

John Matarese  |  December 19, 2022

“Buy now, pay later” plans are surging in popularity this holiday season, with cash-strapped consumers no longer receiving stimulus checks and expanded child tax credits to help with the bills. But this hot trend does come with some risks, as some shoppers are discovering. Paige Allen is among those trying to finish up holiday shopping …

Gift cards for many stores and services

How to avoid a gift card scam that could ruin your holidays

John Matarese  |  December 14, 2022

Chances are you’re buying at least one gift card this time of year. But you need to be especially vigilant this holiday season, because scammers are increasingly using gift cards as a way to steal your money. Beverly Hacker says someone hacked her Apple gift card she recently purchased. She says the $50 card was …

Hands of auto mechanic repairing car

Car Parts Shortage Means Drivers Are Waiting Months for Repairs

John Matarese  |  December 12, 2022

Going a day or two without your car is hard enough. But some drivers these days are discovering that parts to fix their cars have been on backorder since last spring, leaving them with nothing to drive for months. Chris Ventura has been repairing cars for more than 25 years at his shop, Auto Pros. …

Person puts letter in mail

How to Protect Yourself From Mail Theft This Holiday Season

John Matarese  |  December 8, 2022

Has any of your mail gone missing this year? An unfortunate nationwide trend could be to blame, impacting your holiday season gifts and checks. Reports across the country this year tell of thieves stealing mailbox keys, then grabbing checks out of blue mailboxes. It happened recently to Dorothy Glass, who had a check go missing …

polishing and cleaning jewelry diamond ring with micro fiber fabric

Lab-Grown vs. Mined Diamonds: How to Decide Which One Is Right For You

John Matarese  |  December 6, 2022

Whether you’re getting down on one knee or just trying to make this Christmas extra special, the holidays are huge for jewelry sales. And while diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, prices have soared on mined, natural diamonds in recent years. So the biggest money-saving trend right now is lab-grown diamonds. Eric Fehr of …

How to avoid buying counterfeit goods online this holiday season

John Matarese  |  December 5, 2022

As you search online for gifts this holiday season, the Better Business Bureau is warning about a surge in counterfeit goods and cheap imitations that will leave you disappointed. They are often advertised on your social media feeds, with images of handbags, jewelry and clothing that look great and are affordable. Sierra Harper knows about …

2022 Holiday Shipping Deadlines for Sending Gifts and Packages

John Matarese  |  November 30, 2022

If you’re scrolling through hot deals this Cyber Monday week, don’t forget that the deadline for sending holiday packages is only a few weeks out. With recent postal delays, you don’t want to delay shipping items this year. Mason McCarty runs a shipping store, Safe Ship, and is enjoying this last calm before the storm. …

How to protect your holiday deliveries from porch pirates

John Matarese  |  November 29, 2022

We see the videos of brazen “porch pirates” every holiday season, grabbing packages right in full view of video doorbells. While most of us are busy spreading holiday cheer, a naughty few are trying to take what isn’t theirs, right off your front porch. It happened last Christmas to Sam Diener. “I had ordered a …

How To Avoid Credit Card Debt This Holiday Season

John Matarese  |  November 28, 2022

It’s always rewarding to buy someone else the perfect gift for the holidays, but not if it means taking on more debt, especially this year. That’s because credit card rates are now at a 30-year high, which can make those holiday purchases very expensive. Jeannie and Kayla Metcalfe were grabbing some of Target’s Black Friday …

Best Smartwatch

Health Gadgets That Make Great Holiday Gifts

John Matarese  |  November 22, 2022

There are so many new gadgets out there to help you monitor your health. Some of them could make a great holiday gift for a family member. Most of us have all the TVs and Alexa devices we need, after two years of pandemic spending. So many people are turning to high-tech items that could …

A man spills coffee on his keyboard at work.

Are protection plans for tech gadgets worth the cost?

John Matarese  |  November 21, 2022

If you’re purchasing an electronic item this holiday shopping season, make sure you leave some room in your budget to protect what you buy. A great deal on a laptop or PlayStation is no great deal if you drop it on Christmas morning or spill a drink on it a few weeks later. Jenna Rice …

Girl hugs Toys R Us mascot Geoffrey

Toys ‘R’ Us Returns to Macy’s stores: Here’s What’s Inside

John Matarese  |  November 15, 2022

Don’t want to grow up? Then you’ll be happy to hear that Geoffrey is back, as Toys “R” Us makes its return. Four years after all Toys “R” Us stores closed in bankruptcy, the brand is finally making a comeback with shops inside 400 Macy’s department stores. Preteen Ethan Wood is thrilled to be a Toys “R” Us kid again, still …

Home with for sale sign

Sticker shock is forcing some home buyers to the sidelines

John Matarese  |  November 14, 2022

It’s a case of sticker shock for many home buyers this fall, as mortgage rates hovering around 7 percent combine with high home prices, forcing some out of the market. Others are trying a more risky alternative — adjustable mortgages — and hoping rates fall in the next couple of years. Keenan Crigler is a …

Want a Puppy for Christmas? Know the Warning Signs of a Puppy Scam

John Matarese  |  November 12, 2022

If your holiday plans include welcoming a new furry friend, one woman learned the hard way you can’t trust every adorable puppy ad you see. Bridget Huddleston wanted a new puppy for the holidays. “I’m looking for a small lapdog puppy,” she said. She found a blonde Yorkshire Terrier in a Facebook group, offered at …

Rechargeable batteries

Are rechargeable batteries really worth the extra cost?

John Matarese  |  November 9, 2022

Whether you’re shopping for new batteries for smoke alarms or toys for the upcoming holiday season, you might be surprised by how pricey batteries are getting. Angel Larkin is thinking of making the switch to rechargeables. “I think they would be helpful, and save money,” she said. Dylan Smith, a manager at a Tru-Value hardware …

Woman holds credit card

5 Ways to Protect Yourself From Scams

John Matarese  |  November 8, 2022

Online scams target us year-round. But during the holiday shopping season, scammers seem to be more aggressive than ever, luring people looking for deals. Stephen Casper is a long-time real estate agent who has seen a lot over the years. So when he recently received an email about a free holiday gift from Costco, his …