Afternoon Deals: Friday, August 23

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Afternoon Deals: Friday, August 23
Every morning and afternoon we publish a list of the latest and best deals from our partner, DealNews. To learn more about the discounts and details, click on any of the deals for more information. To have this list, along with our latest news and stories, delivered daily to your inbox, sign up for our free newsletter. For links to deals as they’re published, follow @mtndeals on Twitter. [...]
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Family Handyman Magazine Subscription Deal

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Family Handyman Magazine Subscription Deal
Are you a DIY-er? Do you want to be a better one?  You can score a great deal on a subscription to Family Handyman Magazine!   FAMILY HANDYMAN SUBSCRIPTION DEAL Now through 8/15/19 (11:59 pm EST), you can save 77% off a subscription to Family Handyman Magazine!  That makes it just $8.99 per year (get ... Read More about Family Handyman Magazine Subscription Deal The post Family Handyman Magazine Subscription Deal appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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These States’ Tax-Free Holidays Mean Big Savings on Back-to-School Shopping

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These States’ Tax-Free Holidays Mean Big Savings on Back-to-School Shopping
Back-to-school shopping may be exciting for the kids who’ll get new gear, but less so for the parents who have to pay for it all. The National Retail Federation estimates the average household with kids in elementary through high school is expected to spend about $697 on new clothes, shoes, electronics and school supplies in 2019.  Some shoppers will be able to find a little financial relief this summer as 16 states hold tax-free holidays during July and August, saving consumers from paying sales tax on certain school-related items. Now, you may not save a ton of money by shopping during tax-free holidays. For example, if you bought $500 worth of clothes, shoes and school supplies during Florida’s tax-free weekend in a county where the sales tax is 6%, you would save only $30. But what parent wouldn’t want to save 30 bucks?   And if you use the tax-free holidays in conjunction with smart comparison shopping and deal-stacking, you’ll save even more on your back-to-school supplies.   Some states’ tax-free holidays are held over a weekend, while others are a week long. Each state has different criteria for what merchandise won’t be taxed, and many states require the purchases to be under a certain price threshold. Tax-Free Weekends: When, Where and What The states that have back-to-school tax-free weekends (or weeks) this year are Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Alabama When: July 19-21 What is tax-free:  Clothing and shoes — $100 or less per item.  Books — $30 or less per item.  School supplies — $50 or less per item. Computers and related equipment — $750 or less per item.  Arkansas When: Aug. 3-4 What is tax-free: Clothing and shoes — less than $100 per item.  Clothing accessories — less than $50 per item. School supplies — no price threshold, but must be on a state-approved list. Connecticut When: Aug. 18-24 What is tax-free:  Clothing and shoes — less than $100 per item. Florida When: Aug. 2-6 What is tax-free:  Computers and certain electronics — $1,000 or less per item.  Clothing, accessories and shoes — $60 or less per item. School supplies — $15 or less per item. Iowa When: Aug. 2-3 What is tax-free:  Clothing and shoes — less than $100 per item. Maryland When: Aug. 11-17 What is tax-free:  Clothing and shoes — $100 or less per item. Bookbags/backpacks — the first $40 is tax-free. Massachusetts When: Aug. 17-18 What is tax-free:  Most consumer products — $2,500 or less per item. Clothing — Massachusetts does not charge any sales tax on clothes under $175 year round. Mississippi When: July 26-27 What is tax-free:  Clothing and shoes — less than $100 per item. Missouri When: Aug. 2-4 What is tax-free: Clothing and shoes — $100 or less per item. School supplies — $50 or less per purchase (exception: graphing calculators must be $150 or less). Computers and related equipment — $1,500 or less per item.  Computer software — $350 or less. FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM Summer Is Here: Is Your Electric Bill Affected by Running the AC? 7/17/19 @ 4:08 PM Do You Ever Pick up A Stray Penny? 2/7/19 @ 5:27 PM Do drive-in movie theaters save you money? 7/1/19 @ 7:38 PM What to buy (and not buy) from Fourth of July Sales 2019 6/27/19 @ 1:00 PM M See more in Save Money or ask a money question New Mexico When: Aug. 2-4 What is tax-free:  Clothing, accessories and shoes — less than $100 per item.  School supplies — less than $30 per item (exceptions: backpacks, maps and globes must be under $100 and calculators must be under $200). Computers — $1,000 or less per item.  Computer hardware — $500 or less per item. Ohio When: Aug. 2-4 What is tax-free:  Clothing and shoes — $75 or less per item. School supplies — $20 or less per item. School instructional materials — $20 or less per item. Oklahoma When: Aug. 2-4 What is tax-free:  Clothing and shoes — less than $100 per item.  South Carolina When: Aug. 2-4 What is tax-free: Clothing, accessories and shoes — no price threshold. School supplies — no price threshold. Computers and related equipment — no price threshold. Bedding, pillows, bath towels, wash cloths and shower curtains — no price threshold. Books and musical instruments — no price threshold (if they are for school assignments). Tennessee When: July 26-28 What is tax-free:  Clothing and shoes — $100 or less per item.  School supplies — $100 or less per item.  Computers — $1,500 or less per item. Texas When: Aug. 9-11 What is tax-free:  Clothing and shoes — less than $100 per item. School supplies — less than $100 per item. Virginia When: Aug. 2-4 What is tax-free:  Clothing and shoes — $100 or less per item. School supplies — $20 or less per item. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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How This Family of 4 Saves $3,600 a Year Living in a 200-Square-Foot Home

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How This Family of 4 Saves $3,600 a Year Living in a 200-Square-Foot Home
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated. Several years ago, Andrew and Gabriella Morrison and their two kids lived in a 2,200-square-foot house in Ashland, Oregon. Andrew describes it as the perfect house on the perfect street in the perfect town — the American dream, really. On the outside, the family appeared to have everything. But on the inside, they were feeling increasingly stressed by their finances. “We started recognizing the financial and energetic cost of living there and how busy we were trying to maintain it,” Andrew says. So, the family of four decided to downsize — in a major way. Discovering Tiny Homes — Long Before HGTV Did The Morrisons’ decision to ditch their seemingly picture-perfect suburban lifestyle happened fast. Andrew describes it as an “aha” moment. In the midst of their frenzied days, Gabriella received an email from someone whose signature line read, “Tiny House Blog.” She’d never even heard of tiny houses before. So naturally, she did a quick internet search. “It was literally like dominoes,” she says. “We went down the rabbit hole and never looked back.” Within 30 minutes of researching the tiny-house lifestyle, Gabriella says everything became clear about why they were having issues and what needed to be done. The Ultimate Purge: Getting Rid of 80% of Their Belongings Gabriella learned the average U.S. household holds something like 300,000 items — everything from paperclips to armoires. That’s a lot. So the family created something they called a “365-day rule.” Each time someone went into a room with a drawer or cabinet, every single item was pulled out. With each item, they asked, “Have we used it in the last year?” If the answer was yes, then they could decide if they wanted to keep it. If the answer was no, it went in an ever-growing pile in their two-car garage. After a couple of months, that pile of cast-off items grew about two feet high. Once an item was in the pile, they decided if they still wanted to keep it or if they wanted to sell or donate it. “The more we did it, the easier it became and the more excited we got,” Gabriella says. When the pile dwindled to heirlooms and childhood tokens, the family took a breather. They put them in a small storage box to return to a few years later. Their inevitable solution for many of those items? Take photos of them or digitize them. For example, they’d transfer old photos to CDs and take photos of old trophies. The more we did it, the easier it became and the more excited we got. Then they’d purge. In the end, the family rid themselves of about 80% of their belongings. Including their home. Although it was their perfect home, the family was excited for their newest adventure: pop-up living on the shores of Mexico. Moving Into a Pop-Up Camper and Testing the Tiny Boundaries After purging material goods, the family decided to test out the tiny lifestyle by living in a pop-up camper for nearly five months on the beaches of Baja, Mexico. The couple continued to operate their business, Straw Bale, which focuses on homes made of straw bales. Their son, Paiute, was off at boarding school, so there was one less body in the newly adopted living space. However, it wasn’t all frolicking in the Sea of Cortez (though that did happen a lot). Gabriella remembers being “shocked and disturbed” during that first month in the camper. The emotional withdrawals from the lack of electronics and material goods were surprisingly intense for Andrew and Gabriella — even for their home-schooled daughter, Terra, who was 11 at the time. “Before, our lifestyles involved a ton of work — 10 hours a day, 7 days a week — and constantly being on screens, returning phone calls, receiving emails,” Gabriella explains. “Then, for our daughter, it was with the social media channels. They start pretty young these days.” At one point, the trio was so uncomfortable, they almost packed up and returned home. But near the 30-day mark of their adventure, Andrew woke up and “some switch went off,” Gabriella says. “He was able to see the incredible paradise we were living in and the incredible opportunity before us.” Gabriella and her daughter soon followed. Today, the Morrisons consider it the best experience they’ve ever had. Returning to Oregon to Put Down Some Tiny Roots After five months, the Morrisons returned to Ashland to scout out the perfect piece of land for a permanent tiny house. Although the ZIP code was expensive, the family resolved to stay where they’d already established a life. But the couple wasn’t willing to go into debt. So they waited. During that time, which ultimately lasted two years, they rented the smallest house they could find. Even then, the space wasn’t small enough. Andrew and Gabriella settled into the walk-in closet — about the size of a queen mattress. “It was our bedroom, it was our library, it was our hanging clothes closet,” Andrew says. “But even that was too big. We couldn’t find anything small enough for us.” Gabriella chimes in: “We weren’t comfortable being in a big space [anymore].” Finally, Andrew and Gabriella found what they were looking for: five acres in the Rogue Valley, amongst the mountains. There was even a creek cutting through the property. Although it posed some problems, like a lack of approval for a septic system and challenging access to the building site, Andrew was a former builder with ample experience, and he accepted the challenge. The Struggles of Constructing a Tiny House in the Dead of Winter Andrew and Gabriella moved back into their pop-up camper to start building their tiny dream home on their newly-acquired land. Rather than commuting from town each day — about a 30-minute haul — they figured they could be more efficient living right on the job site. But it was cold. “I can tell you that living in a pop-tent trailer in the winter in Oregon is not the same as living in a pop-tent trailer on a beach in Mexico,” Andrew says. “It got cold. We had snow. We didn’t have any running water. It was definitely a mistake.” The two returned to town to stay with a friend and resumed construction while Paiute and Terra were off at boarding school. It took about four months for Andrew to complete the 207-square-foot tiny home — plus 110 square feet for a sleeping loft. How Much Money Can You Save Living in a Tiny House? The biggest perk? They’re no longer financially stressed. Gabriella estimates that in about two more years they’ll have paid off their tiny home with the money they’ve saved by not having a mortgage. Utilities have been slashed, too. Heating a 207-square-foot home is a lot less expensive than a 2,200-square-foot home. They’re also technically off the grid, so their solar power is free and the water runs from a well. Their monthly bills have been shaved down to internet, phone and garbage. They pay their propane heating bill twice a year. They’ve also noticed a difference in their grocery bill. By American standards, their refrigerator is about half the size of a “normal” one. But because they don’t have any of those deep, dark corners, items can’t be tucked away and forgotten; every food item is in view and consumed. Andrew and Gabriella have also become more aware of their spending habits. Neither was ever a shopaholic, but impulse buying definitely happened. Now, they just don’t have room for it. They’ve even stopped taking freebies. Andrew shares a story about how he opted out of the “free” counterpart of a BOGO deal for pants. He had to explain to the cashier that he lived in a tiny home; he didn’t have room for another pair of pants. The couple laughs. “It’s taken our mindset to where, even if it’s free, if you don’t need it, cut it,” Andrew says. Gabriella suspects they’ve cut at least $300 from their spending e [...]
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