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Here are 25 Amazon Prime Day tech deals you can’t miss

Amazon Prime Day 2017 is finally upon us.

>> Diamonds, luggage and more non-tech Amazon Prime Day deals to watch out for

The official 30-hour cyber shopping extravaganza began at 9 p.m. Monday and features hundreds of lightning deals popping up every five minutes.

>> Read more trending news

>> Amazon Prime Day 2017: When is it; what's on sale?

Amazon released a list of some of the hottest 30-hour deals and bundles on tech products, including its own smart speaker.

>> Which smart speaker is right for you? Comparing Google Home, Amazon Echo and Apple HomePod

Here are 25 tech deals pulled from Amazon’s Monday press release:

  1. Save 50 percent on Amazon Echo, only $89.99
  2. Save $15 on Echo Dot, only $34.99
  3. Save $30 on Kindle Paperwhite, only $89.99
  4. Save $40 on Fire HD 8 Kids Edition, only $89.99
  5. Fire 7, our best-selling tablet, only $29.99
  6. Prime members who haven’t yet tried Amazon Music Unlimited can add four months of the full catalog streaming service for just $0.99 when buying Echo devices, Fire TV streaming media players or Fire tablets
  7. Save $75 on Echo Show and Arlo Security Camera bundle
  8. Save 30 percent on Echo Dot and TP-Link Smart Plug bundle
  9. Save $50 on August Smart Lock
  10. Echo Dot and Sony XB10 bundle, under $70
  11. Save big on Sony XB950B1 Extra Bass Wireless Headphones
  12. Save 45 percent on Libratone One Click portable Bluetooth speakers
  13. Save up to 50 percent on select video games, consoles and accessories
  14. Save up to 40 percent on PC gaming laptops, desktops and accessories
  15. Save 30 percent on RepRap Guru 3D Printer
  16. Save 50 percent on two-pack of Tile Slim Phone Finders
  17. Save big on Game of Thrones: The Complete Seasons 1-6 + Digital HD [Blu-ray]
  18. Newly released Element 55-inch 4K Ultra HD smart LED TV – Amazon Fire TV Edition, only $399.99
  19. 25 percent off select TCL smart TVs, starting at $119.99 for a 28-inch
  20. 32-inch 720p TCL TV, only $99.99
  21. 40-inch 1080p TCL TV, only $199.99
  22. 55-inch premium brand 4K smart LED TV, only $599.99
  23. Get 15 percent back on select Samsung TVs, audio and more on Prime Day with an Amazon Prime credit card
  24. Save more than 30 percent on Furbo Dog Camera with Interactive Treat Tossing, HD Wi-Fi Cam and 2-Way Audio
  25. Save 20 percent on Jackery Bolt 10050 External Battery Pack

Diamonds, luggage and more non-tech Amazon Prime Day deals to watch out for

Amazon Prime Day isn’t just about snagging the best deals on tech

>> Here are 25 Amazon Prime Day tech deals you can’t miss

>> Amazon Prime Day 2017: When is it; what's on sale?

The official 30-hour cyber shopping extravaganza began at 9 p.m. Monday and features hundreds of lightning deals popping up every five minutes, including a $499.99 deal on diamond stud earrings and big discounts on brands like Samsonite and Adidas.

>> Read more trending news

Ahead of the launch, Amazon released a list of some of the hottest 30-hour deals and bundles on tech products and non-tech products alike.

>> Which smart speaker is right for you? Comparing Google Home, Amazon Echo and Apple HomePod

Here are 21 non-tech deals pulled from Amazon’s Prime Day sneak peek press release:

  1. Save 40-50 percent on Prime Exclusive clothing, handbags and more
  2. Save 30 percent on select clothing, shoes and more for men, women, kids and baby
  3. Save big on diamond stud earrings – 1 carat diamond stud earrings for 499.99 or ½ carat diamond stud earrings for $239.99
  4. Save up to 70 percent on select Samsonite two-piece spinner sets
  5. Save up to 40 percent on select furniture, mattresses and rugs
  6. Save 20 percent on nursery essentials
  7. Save $100 on the Bissell Multi Reach Cordless Stick Vacuum
  8. Save up to 40 percent on Radio Flyer, Crayola, K'NEX and more
  9. Save up to 30 percent on select Under Armour training gear
  10. Save 30 percent on select Adidas apparel
  11. Save up to 50 percent on select Callaway Golf products
  12. Skywalker Trampolines Jump N' Dunk Trampoline with safety enclosure and basketball hoop, 8-feet, only $119.99
  13. Save 30 percent on the Sportstuff 1030 Adventure Stand Up Paddleboard with accessories
  14. Save 25 percent or more on AmazonBasics – from office products to outdoor gear
  15. Get 20 percent back on thousands of items with an Amazon Prime credit card including select Disney Pixar Cars toys, select Thule jogging strollers and luggage, and select Yamaha musical instruments
  16. Save up to 50 percent on grocery items by Amazon, including Wickedly Prime and Happy Belly products
  17. Save 25 percent on Salt and Pepper Grinder Set from Willow &amp; Everett
  18. Save 20 percent on 6-Pack of Assorted Natural Chewing Gum from Simply Gum
  19. Save 35 percent on Mo+M Designer Cotton Baby Carrier from Mother’s on the Move
  20. Save 20 percent on 12-month Banner Cutout from Handmade Artisan Confetti Momma
  21. Save 20 percent off handmade from Kahili Creations

Roth 401(K) Better Than Traditional 401(K)

MoneyTipsIs a Roth 401(k) preferable to a traditional 401(k)? Generally, that depends on tax rates and whether you prefer to pay taxes as you contribute in your working years or as you withdraw funds in retirement. Roth 401(k) plans are created with after-tax funds, while traditional 401(k) plans are funded through pre-tax dollars. By choosing a Roth 401(k) and paying your taxes upfront, the savings in your account grow tax-free, and once you have held the account for at least five years and are past age 59-½, your withdrawals are also tax-free. Withdrawals from traditional 401(k) plans are taxed as ordinary income upon retirement. Harvard Business School researchers found that Roth 401(k) accounts produce greater purchasing power in retirement than traditional 401(k) programs because of basic human nature – people's tendency to use rules of thumb when determining their retirement contributions. Contributions are often made in terms of percentages or dollar targets, and a flat savings rate makes a huge difference when considering pre-tax vs. post-tax dollars. Let's assume that you are maxing out your 401(k) at the current limit of $18,000 annually (and that you haven't reached age fifty yet to allow a $6,000 catch-up contribution). With a Roth 401(k), that $18,000 contribution will still be worth $18,000 at retirement. With a traditional 401(k), that $18,000 contribution is only worth $18,000 minus whatever tax rate applies at retirement. To think about it another way: If you are contributing $18,000 to a Roth 401(k), you are indirectly contributing more than $18,000 toward your retirement because you are also paying the taxes on those funds in that same year. This advantage could be partially neutralized by future tax rates. If you are in a high tax bracket now, your tax bracket in retirement is likely to be significantly lower – thus the taxes you pay now by contributing to a Roth 401(k) are greater than the taxes you will pay upon withdrawal. Lead study author John Beshears gives the following example in an interview with the Wall Street Journal: Assume an annual $5,000 contribution to a 401(k) for forty years until retirement, with a 5% return. The balance will be $600,000 at retirement. At a 20% tax rate – not unreasonable upon retirement – the spending power is reduced to $480,000. With a Roth 401(k), the spending power of that nest egg is still $600,000. While the Harvard study finds that Roth 401(k)s tend to result in greater purchasing power, that doesn't mean that you should dismiss a traditional 401(k). If you are maxing out your 401(k), a Roth is clearly a better choice – but otherwise, you can simply adjust the contribution amount to a traditional 401(k) upward to account for anticipated taxes at retirement, and gain the further tax advantage of lowering your taxable income during your working years. Depending on your employer's plan, you may be able to hedge your bets. Some employer plans allow you to have a traditional 401(k) and a Roth 401(k) simultaneously – but your total contributions are still capped at the annual limit. You may be able to alternate annual contributions between the two accounts, or possibly divert an annual percentage to each account. The cost/benefit calculations are not straightforward and require some assumptions on growth, inflation, and tax rates. We advise running scenarios on your preferred retirement scenarios using online calculators – or, better still, seek the advice of a financial professional who can address your retirement goals and lay out your best options in an understandable way. Let the free Retirement Planner by MoneyTips help you calculate when you can retire without jeopardizing your lifestyle. Photo © Posted at: 6 Things to Do for Your Retirement at Age 50The Biggest Retirement Mistake is Complacency5 Common Mistakes in Retirement Investments

5 things you didn’t know about Amazon

Both old and new Amazon Prime users are gearing up for the much-anticipated Amazon Prime Day deals launching Monday night.

» RELATED: Amazon Prime Day 2017: When is it; what's on sale? 

As you take advantage of the biggest bargains from the multi-million dollar company’s sale of the year, take a look back at its humble beginnings.

>> Read more trending news

Here are five things you probably didn’t know about Amazon:

1. It began in a garage.

Like many big companies and hit bands that once started in a college dorm room or basement, Amazon’s humble beginnings originated in the garage of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

» RELATED: 7 hidden perks of Amazon Prime you probably never knew about 

2. It was originally called “Cadabra.”

Yes, as in “Abracadabra.” But as soon as people began confusing “Cadabra” with “cadaver,” that name went out the window.

Bezos instead chose “,” to suggest something of a large scale.

3. When it went live, it only sold books. wasn’t always “Amazonian.” When it went live, it actually only sold books. But now, sells everything from electronics to apparel to groceries.

» RELATED: Need a job? Stay at home and work for Amazon 

4. Every time a purchase was made, a bell would ring in the company office.

This humble tradition of the most popular online store in the U.S. is no longer.

5. In 2012, a web services crash cost the company millions of dollars.

Amazon’s web services went down for an hour in October 2012, mainly affecting eastern states. This cost the company millions of dollars.

Read more about the crash here.

» RELATED: Amazon to buy Whole Foods for $13.7 billion

Save Money By Making Internet Shopping Harder

MoneyTipsFor years, shopaholics had to battle against the ease and convenience of late-night TV ads. Their classic pitches led thousands of people to buy items that they did not need, all available with a simple phone call. The advent of 24-hour shopping channels like QVC and the Home Shopping Network made it even easier to spend yourself into bankruptcy. Then, the Internet arrived. Internet shopping allows you to search for any item you can think of and purchase it online with a simple click of the button and entry of a credit card — or just the simple click if your payment information is already on record. Even browsing the Internet with no intention to buy can turn into a shopping spree if you run across items that you "simply cannot do without." What's a shopaholic to do? The first order of business is to admit that you have a problem with impulse shopping on the Internet. After that, it is a matter of setting up minor roadblocks to make Internet shopping more difficult without taking drastic measures like closing your credit card accounts. Consider these measures that will slow down the process and give you time to reconsider whether or not you really need that customized bowling ball or package of thirty smartphone covers. Do not Store Information – Most sites encourage you to store your basic information so that they can expedite the checkout process — especially your shipping and credit card information. Your browser is probably set to autofill the information into most forms. Disable the autofill capability of your browser and decline to store credit cards and other information online. It will take you several minutes to enter that information, which may be enough time to talk yourself out of the purchase. Budget your Small Purchases – Apps for mobile devices are so cheap that it is easy to make impulse buys without thinking how quickly small purchases add up. That is also true for music purchases through iTunes, or other similarly inexpensive downloadable items. Set yourself a budget by using a prepaid gift/credit card and use it to budget small app and download purchases. Load it at the beginning of the month with your budgeted amount and track the balance during the month. You may run out in the first month, but with time, you will learn to track your spending and get in the habit of controlling your purchases throughout the month. Pause Before Checkout – Websites give you the opportunity to review your basket before purchase to make sure that all the details are correct. Take a set amount of time (perhaps five to 10 minutes) to leave the items in your checkout basket and simply walk away from the computer. If you still want the items when you return to the computer, go ahead — but at least you will have had some time to think about it. Block Sites – If nothing else works, try blocking sites at various times during the day when you are most vulnerable to impulse purchases. Programs like StayFocusd or Leechblock can allow you to block websites temporarily and save you from draining out your bank account. We hope that these tips can help you from maxing out your credit cards with Internet impulse buys. If not, you may want to shop exclusively at stores with liberal return policies. At least, then there’s a chance you’ll have come to your senses by the time the now-unwanted purchase arrives. If you want more credit, check out MoneyTips' list of credit card offers. Photo © Originally Posted at: Online Store Return PoliciesWackiest "Of The Month" ClubsToday’s Headlines: Online Shopping Surpasses In-Store

Cookie store employee suspended after buying brownie for police officer reinstated

A Texas cookie store employee who was suspended after he paid for a brownie for a police officer will be reinstated.

>> Watch the news report here

According to KRIV, Zachary Randolph, 18, works at Great American Cookies at Katy Mills Mall in Katy, Texas. But his employment was in jeopardy for a few days after a moment of generosity on the job.

Last Sunday, a police officer reportedly came to Great American Cookies and ordered a brownie, a $2.75 purchase. Randolph offered to pay for the officer’s brownie with his own money. The police officer thanked him and walked away.

It was the conduct of the next family in line that reportedly got Randolph in trouble. When they approached the counter, they asked if Randolph would be paying for their orders, too. In a viral Facebook post, Randolph’s mother, Tami Kurtz Randolph, said her son’s job was threatened and he was accused of being racist:

>> See the post here

The next day, Randolph was summoned to a meeting with his manager and upper manager, his mother wrote. She said that while upper management supposedly wanted him fired for the incident, his direct manager would not fire him, saying he was a good worker and under consideration for management at the time of the incident, 

They issued Randolph a warning and a one-week suspension, his mother said. Not everyone agreed with the action.

“A lot of people I know my age don’t support police officers. I don’t think it’s fair,” he told KRIV.

But things were about to change again. As the story got more attention, Great American Cookies executives reversed the decision. Biju George, the owner and operator of the Katy Mills Great American Cookies, issued this statement:

>> Read more trending news

"On behalf of Great American Cookies Katy Mills, we owe the employee an apology. It was never an issue that he purchased a brownie for a police officer, but rather the events that unfolded with another customer in line at the time. However, after further review, we realize that the employee was in fact in the right and we continue to reach out to him and his mom to issue an apology. The corrective action and suspension was reversed immediately and we hope to connect with him today."

In an emailed statement to the Houston Chronicle, Great American Cookies Executive Vice President David Kaiser wrote:

"Great American Cookies proudly supports Law Enforcement, First Responders and all who serve our country. ... Though our stores are independently managed and operated, when the situation first arose, we reached out to the franchisee to ensure that the situation was addressed and handled appropriately."

Another razor blade found hidden on Walmart shopping cart

For the second time in a few days, a Walmart in Festus, Missouri, has to answer questions about a shopping cart found to have a razor blade hidden under its handlebarThe Associated Press reported Friday.

>> Watch the news report here

According to the AP, authorities believe that the person who left the blades might be a shoplifter who used them to cut off tags or open packages.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Woman cut with razor blade embedded in Walmart cart handle

On July 2, Michelle Patterson reportedly was cut by a razor blade as she sanitized a cart handlebar with a wipe. She was not seriously hurt.

“The lady behind me had a toddler. That would have been her cart if I hadn’t been there first,” Patterson told KTVI. “That’s what upsets me.”

The store responded by calling the incident “disturbing.”

>> Read more trending news

“It’s disturbing that someone might try to injure a customer or associate, and we’re grateful no one was seriously hurt. We’ve checked all shopping carts and are currently conducting regular checks. We’ve also reviewed surveillance footage and will continue working with police to find the person responsible,” the store said in a statement.

Now another razor blade has been found on a cart handlebar.

Police are reviewing surveillance footage for the suspect.

Mom wants apology after son covered in human waste at McDonald's

A New Hampshire woman is demanding an apology and raising questions about the cleanliness of a Manchester McDonald’s after she says her son became covered in human waste in the playpen.

Justina Whitmore said that when she let her son play, she knew he may be covered in germs, but she never imagined her 5-year-old would emerge from the yellow slide covered in another child’s waste.

Gabriel said he was playing tag with another child, who apparently had a soiled diaper.

“It was because he went down the slide first,” he said. “And then I couldn’t help it, and it went all over me.”

>> Read more trending news

But it’s what happened after the incident that the mother finds even more outrageous.

She said there was no soap in the bathroom, and when she asked employees for help, she said they just laughed at her.

“I went over to the counter and said, ‘Are you going to give me any paper towels or anything to help clean my son off?' and they were just laughing and arguing about who should clean it up.”

For 10 minutes, Whitmore said she was pleading for assistance, only to have employees ignore her and take smoke breaks or act like a child.

“I was at that point just using my bare hands and ... using his left sock to scrape it off his skin,” Whitmore said.

Her friend started taking video when things got heated.

Whitmore shared the encounter on Facebook. It’s now been shared more than 4,500 times, raising questions about the cleanliness of the fast-food favorite.

“I’m sure employees go to the bathroom,” Whitmore said. “There’s no soap. How are they washing their hands?”

Because her son has eczema, she had to take him to the emergency room to get checked out after the incident.

She said she just wants an apology but hasn’t heard from the owner.

WFXT received a statement from the owner, Michael Gambino, who said, “The safety and well-being of our customers are our top priorities. We are investigating the situation and will take any appropriate measures to address.”

Survey Shows People Using Credit Cards For Home Renovations

MoneyTipsAre you planning to renovate your home in 2017? There's a better than 50/50 chance that you are, if a recent poll by LightStream is accurate. The January 2017 LightStream Home Improvement survey found that 59% of homeowners plan to spend money on renovations during this year, with 42% of the planned renovations costing $5,000 or more. Surprisingly, while 60% of those planning renovations intend to fund their project out of savings, 29% plan to pay for their home improvements with a credit card. That's far more than the 9% expecting to use a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) or the 7% who prefer to take out a home improvement loan. Use of credit cards to pay for home renovations appears to be on the rise. The 29% cited in the 2017 survey represents an increase of four percentage points over the 2016 survey. Is it wise to put such a large expense on your credit card? That depends on your financial situation and your renovation plans. Paying for home renovation costs with your credit card can earn significant credit card rewards, but those rewards can be quickly negated by interest charges if you have to carry a balance. Review your renovation budget to see how long it will take to absorb the costs, and whether the costs can be spread out evenly enough that you can avoid carrying a balance throughout the entire project. Compared to a HELOC or a home improvement loan, credit cards are likely to have considerably higher interest rates. If your renovation budget is likely to surpass your cash flow, it makes more sense to review loan options and rethink the use of plastic. There's no guarantee that loan terms will be better, especially if you have a poor credit score or enough collective debt that you only receive high-interest rate offers, but at least you have options to consider. (You should probably also consider whether you can afford to renovate at this time.) Do you need to move forward quickly with your renovation? If so, credit cards may become a more attractive (and instantaneous) option – but loan approval process times vary by vendor, and you may be able to find loans with attractive terms that only delay your plans by a few days. In essence, if you cannot afford to pay off your renovation costs out of your savings, you should compare your credit card terms with loan options. How do HELOCs or home loans that you can qualify for compare to your credit card interest rate? Use online resources to compare the interest charges over the life of a loan with the estimated interest charges on credit card balances. Don't forget to consider the effect on your credit score under either scenario. You can check your credit score and read your credit report for free within minutes using Credit Manager by MoneyTips. If you can afford renovation costs up-front, it probably makes sense for you to use your credit card instead. Pay off all charges at the end of the month, and reap all the possible rewards. You may temporarily close in on your credit limit and lower your credit score, but your credit score should fall back into shape once your spending returns to normal levels. Perhaps you can apply your credit card rewards toward a final accent piece that makes your renovation complete – or take a well-deserved vacation instead. You can always enjoy your new home renovations when you return. If you want more credit, check out MoneyTips' list of credit card offers. Photo © Originally Posted at: Improvement Spending On The Rise5 Home Improvement Projects under a GrandMortgages for Buying and Improving a Home

The Costs Of Convenience

MoneyTipsWe live in a world where convenience is king. Sometimes we buy products purely for the convenience aspect without even giving them a second thought. If you are struggling with your budget or just wondering whether a particular purchase was wise, perhaps it is time to rethink the balance of cost vs. convenience. There is no single answer for cost versus convenience — it is an individual decision based on many factors. Your income level, available free time, stress levels, where you live, and even your particular stage in life come into play. Your decisions may be different when you are young and single compared to when you are a parent with multiple toddlers or past retirement age and into your twilight years. Spend Time or Spend Money If you are questioning some of your cost vs. convenience decisions, consider the following examples below and some of the tradeoffs involved. Which philosophy do you agree with? Dishwashers – You have a dishwasher because dishwashers save time — but do they? Are you one of the people who pre-washes their dishes to the point that putting them in the dishwasher is superfluous? Do you overload your dishwasher or make such messes that dishes do not come out sufficiently clean? In either case, why did you spend $300 to $500 on a dishwasher? Disposable Diapers – For many parents, disposable diapers are a godsend. Any parent who has dealt with a diaper emergency two minutes before they have to leave for work understands its appeal. However, not only are they expensive compared to cloth diapers, they are unquestionably worse for the planet. Your decision here involves social costs as well as economic costs. Convenience Foods – From frozen dinners and pre-packaged small bags of lettuce to 100-calorie snack packs, specially packaged foods are likely the most often-used convenience items in your home. Yet with time, most of them could be easily replaced for half the money or less. It may take a lot of time and effort to prepare a fresh dinner compared to a frozen one, but how hard is it to buy snacks in bulk and package them into 100-calorie portions yourself? Another consideration with convenience foods is whether the packaging fits your needs for perishable items. If you are eating solo, it may be cheaper to buy a head of lettuce and throw away half of it compared to buying a small prepared bag that is twice as expensive — but is it responsible to do so? Robotic Room Cleaners – These sound so simple — just turn them on and let them go. For $400, you can have something that automatically vacuums your house while you are at work. The tradeoff depends on how much time you spend sweeping/vacuuming your house, and whether the robotic cleaner is reliable enough to meet your needs. There have been tales of robot vacuums meeting animal waste that resulted in more mess, not less! Microwave Ovens – Today these seem like a necessity, yet for years people got along just fine without them. Just for fun, write down every use of your microwave for a month. Could you have used your oven or other appliances to create the same meal? Most of us would consider a microwave a necessity now, but it ties in with the concept of convenience foods listed above. How much time do you save and is the microwaved dish equivalent to oven-baked? In most of these cases, the question is how to place a cost value on your time. If you were a business, you could assign yourself the cost of a salary and make a decision from a purely economic standpoint. While that analysis is possible, let's face it ... most of these decisions have little to do with economic tradeoffs. They usually boil down to likes and dislikes ("I hate cleaning the floors or chopping vegetables"). That is why convenience items exist, and often sell briskly. If you want more credit for that "must-have" convenience item, check out MoneyTips' list of credit card offers. If there is one direction modern society has been moving in during the last 100 years, it is convenience. We are living in an era of conveniences, but at what price? Let’s not forget that the first syllable of convenience is con. Photo © Originally Posted at: to Create a BudgetSpending Less than You Make Paying for Fish That You Don't Get
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