Avoid Excess Shipping Fees

Avoid Excess Shipping Fees

Shipping and Handling fees may only be a few dollars per item/shipment but these can accumulate to a meaningful amount. Sometimes this can be a high percentage of the total costs and that tends to be when it grabs our attention. There are some ways to offset and/or avoid shipping and handling fees.

  1. Negotiate a lower fee or negotiate a deal where you can pay on the actual amount shipped. Request a copy of the receipt and tracking number to verify. Work with the merchant to advise on the type of packaging to reduce your costs.
  2. Simply tell the vendor you refuse to pay shipping and handling. This is more effective if you’ve been a loyal customer with a good reputation. If you plan to be a repeat buyer, you may concede to pay it on this one order but going forward you will pay only the product price (w/o a markup to cover shipping).
  3. If you’re a user of Amazon, Macy’s, Lowe’s, Kohl’s, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, or a list of growing merchants that have offers for free shipping at a certain threshold of spend, then you can do the math. For example, a merchant may offer free shipping for a shipment of $50 or more. Be careful, this can entice you to spend more than you planned just to hit the threshold.
  4. Get a membership. Determine if its worth joining (such as Amazon Prime) or meeting whatever spending criteria are necessary to get free shipping. If you plan to buy items that costs $150 to ship in the next year and the membership is $119, then you will be further ahead to join…and may get other perks too.
  5. If you are the shipper, avoid over containerization. This is a fine balance of protecting the product and yet minimizing your costs. Usually the shipping company can help determine this solution.
  6. Hire a company that specializes in auditing shipping records for errors and fights for your refund. Of course, they make money taking a piece of any refund or you may be able to pay a flat rate. This is most suitable for people or businesses with hundred or thousands of transactions/yr.
  7. Avoid mistakes: Make sure the packaging is acceptable. Make sure the address is correct and legible. Is the package a standard size or is it considered “oversized”? 

Ecommerce explosion leads to new fees

Rampant ecommerce growth is likely to continue and with that comes innovative ways merchants are using to squeeze out your nickel and dimes. Due to the pandemic there are new fees such as “special handling”. A list of a few is shown below.

Shipping companies define these fees differently and some may not have certain fees that others do. The list below is just a sampllng. Contact that courier to understand the fees and they will likely assist you to minimize your fees.

  • Package oversized surcharge
  • Non-machinable charge
  • Fuel surcharges
  • Congestion surcharges
  • Freight collect refusal fee
  • Winter surcharges
  • Signature-on-delivery surcharges
  • Carbon neutral fee
  • Weekend deliveries surcharges
  • Peak season surcharge shipping
  • Insurance surcharges
  • Weekly service surcharges
  • Address correction fee
Facebook Marketplace extends waiver on Seller fees

Facebook Marketplace extends waiver on Seller fees

As if the social media giant doesn’t get enough of our time and eyes, they started a Marketplace a few years ago that was free to users for the most part. The simplicity and captive audience made it an instant hit for users. Craigslist, Ebay, Amazon, and most other popular selling sites have had a fee structure in place for years. It was just a matter of time before Facebook did the same.

The new selling fee structure was planned for January 2021 but has been pushed out for all orders marked as shipped through 11:59 Pacific Time June 30th, 2021. This fee structure is just another savvy way to slide under the radar yet get your hard-earned nickel and dimes.

Understanding the Seller Fees

Facebook will charge a selling fee of 5% per shipment, or a flat fee of $0.40 for shipments of $8.00 or less. When the seller makes a sale, the selling fee is deducted from the seller’s payout automatically.

  • For example, if a shipment is $10.00 USD, a selling fee of $0.50 USD is deducted. If a shipment is $5.00 USD, a selling fee of $0.40 USD is deducted. As a seller, minimizing your cost/sale is best accomplished by exceeding a shipment value of $8.00 USD each time.

This will complicate some listings that are “miscellaneous” or “ala-carte”. For example, a listing for $1 (that is not actually $1 and only done to attract hits) that encompasses a host of items with separate prices for each item. Sellers will have to be more specific to match a price to an item and create a separate listing for each item. This is likely to take a lot more time to create listings and weed out some sellers. On the positive side, for buyers it should weed out some of the “garbage” listing and provide a marketplace of more serious sellers.


For Buyers, there will be a chargeback process. This will put a hold on the transaction amount to the Seller until it is resolved. If a customer files a chargeback, we’ll place a hold on the transaction amount until the chargeback is resolved.

Leave your comments, advice, ask questions, add ideas at our home page.

In a financial pinch? Consider these ideas

In a financial pinch? Consider these ideas

If you’re in a pinch and strapped for cash, the punch list below are ideas to earn and save money. Some are more obvious than others and some take more effort and involve more risks and long term implications. Be careful making a short term decision that could impact your long term financial well being.

Make a list of ideas that apply to you. Assess the pros and cons along with the short-term and long-term risks. Evaluate those that have the biggest impact to help meet your needs and spend the time and energy getting those done first.

  • Sell items on a marketplace such as Ebay, Amazon, Facebook, Craigslist, and garage sale. Pawn shops may be an option but you’re likely to get a fraction of its value. The value of collectibles almost always depends on condition; use care when handling collectibles you plan to sell.
  • Review memberships (gym, music, online storage, software). You may be able to freeze the membership or decide to cancel it all together. It doesn’t hurt to at least ask for money back if you can prove that you haven’t used the service over a period of time. You may be surprised, especially if you have proven loyalty with the company or you can convince them that you may come back. If you’re not sure, look at your bank account and credit card history and make sure you understand every transaction. You should go back at least a year to catch those with annual renewal terms.
  • Review reoccurring subscriptions (cable, music, online streaming, satellite radio). These can also be memberships as described above. The same concepts apply. You may be surprised of all the nickel & dimes you pay on memberships from the least expensive that could $1.99/mo. to those that more obvious like cable of $200/mo. There’s a good reason for this type of income stream getting so popular lately…because people forget and these costs fly under the radar.
  • Can you reduce or eliminate insurance on anything from home, vehicles, boat, jewelry, etc? Some insurance is ala carte and it never hurts to get an updated quote from other providers. You should get a pro-rated refund from an existing provider if you do make a switch.
  • Can you sell a vehicle? This could also save money by eliminating insurance.
  • Take time to find coupon codes before making a purchase.
  • Pick up a side job.
  • Selling photos or artwork has become more popular. You may be able to earn money when people buy your photo or use your artwork. If you can create company logo’s, take pictures of unique scenery, then maybe this is an option for you.
  • Return items that you have the option of getting store credit, cash, or credit back to your charge card. You don’t always need to have a receipt. If you get store credit you may be able to turn that into cash by selling on a marketplace (but likely you’ll have to discount it).
  • Consider selling gift cards that you may not need or use for long time. Again, you’ll probably have to sell at less than the value but it could generate quick cash.
  • Go online to join companies that pay you to complete surveys, add comments and reviews. A couple popular sites are MyPoints (also has coupon codes) and Survey Junkie.
  • Look into placing advertisements on your vehicle. One example is through Wrapify
  • Pick up a side hustle. Consider joining TaskRabbit or advertising a service or good you can provide on Craigslist or Facebook.
  • For those with more time consider starting a website or a blog. You can earn money reselling, affiliates, advertisements, selling memberships, goods, services, and the best thing about it is that it can work for you while you sleep, 24/7.
  • Do you know a lot about a topic? Consider tutoring online (maybe in person when the time is right). Teach a language, a software package, how to repair something, or make something….get creative.
  • If you don’t mind company consider babysitting or pet-sitting.
  • Sign to up to drive for Uber, Lyft, Doordash, UberEats, Grubhub or other transportation and delivery companies.
  • Deliver goods for Amazon using Amazon Flex.
  • Did you prepay for services that you can request a refund (such as lawn care, fertilization, snow plowing? Think about anything that is prepaid or paid in advance. Contact those companies/people and negotiate money back.
  • Do you have an extra room to rent out and open to sharing? Consider a temporary roommate instead of a traditional yearly lease and make it work for both parties.
  • If you have put away FSA funds you may want to submit eligible FSA expenses to get a refund.
  • Is your house going to be empty for a week or longer? If so, consider renting out your space for that time period.
  • Rent out your car at Turo.com. If you have an RV or camper that is collecting dust you may be able to rent out that too.
  • Some last resort ideas are to reduce contributions to investment or retirement accounts or withdraw from retirement accounts. Be careful with this idea. Due your due diligence. There may be a cost to withdrawing early from an investment.
  • If you feel you can not make a obligatory payment such as a loan, the sooner you notify them to discuss options the more likely you will probably have success in getting some form of relief. You may be able to defer payment(s).

Consider taking the time to create a detailed budget and discipline yourself to execute accordingly. A monthly budget can help you realize the potential to meet your goals. Evaluate various scenarios and understand the implications of your decisions whether it pertains to income or expenses. Keep in mind, not all months will have equal events. There will be seasonal periods where you may have extra income or expenses within particular month(s) that don’t apply to other month(s).

We don’t have affiliations with any of these companies for which the links are provided above. We’re simply trying to give you ideas to save money and get money back.



Reoccurring Subscriptions

Reoccurring subscriptions can be a sneaky monetizing approach for companies to continue siphoning your money when you no longer need the service. You most likely signed up for it but in reality you no longer use the subscription or you can get by with a lower level package.

These types of subscriptions are popular since people often forget to cancel before the next charge. Then it becomes a battle to get a refund. Or it’s too much of a hassle and cancelling gets put off yet again…then another charge occurs until your boiling point is reached.

Threaten to cancel

SiriusXM® usually offers attractive retention options for longer term loyal customers that are looking to cancel. Of course they don’t make cancelling easy. You need to speak to someone via the Chat Room (after you login) or over the phone…both of which can have lengthy wait times. If you want to reduce your monthly fees and still hang on to some or all of the features, contact them and request to cancel and see what they offer you. Just be prepared to cancel with no offer as the worst case scenario….but this isn’t likely.

Temporary Hold

SiriusXM® also has an option that allows you to suspend your account and save some money. This link contains the following bullet points:

  •  You can temporarily suspend your subscription one time in any calendar year for a duration of up to six months.
  • A suspended subscription will be automatically reactivated on either the date requested or the six-month anniversary of the suspension request; whichever date is earlier. If you requested a service suspension while in a promotional period, this suspension will not change the end date of your promotional period.
  • Suspensions cannot be done online. You will need to call 1 (866) 635-5027.
Reporting Phone Fraud

Reporting Phone Fraud

There are various types of phone fraud from cramming, scamming, and spoofing. One of the most annoying, and seem to be growing, are robocalls. One way to quickly help mitigate the problem is sign up on the FTC’s National Do Not Call Registry.

  • Go to the FTC Do Not Call Registry site
  • Go to “Register Your Phone”
  • Add your phone number and an email address to confirm the change
  • Go to your email and confirm the change using the link provided (you have 72 hours to confirm)
  • You should be directed web page that confirms your change

If you have added your name to the FTC’s Do Not Call Registry and believe your still being contacted by companies that you have not given permission there are a couple options you can pursue:

  • Report violations by visiting donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222. Prepare information such as the name and number of the caller, date, time of the call, and what the call was about.
  • Visit ftc.gov or call 1-877-FTC-HELP. 
Excessive Gas and Electricity Charges

Excessive Gas and Electricity Charges

A number of deregulared utility providers may have over promised and under delivered. If you switched from a public utility to an independent energy company you may want to learn more about your options for a potential claim.

By design a deregulated market space allows for more competition and theoretically lower prices and/or more creative options. However, sometime this is not the case. Private utility companies paint a pretty picture to get you signed up. They show you some early savings and build some trust. Then many get complacent and lose track of the details only to gradually nickle-and-dime you and usually even worse. And intrepreting a utility invoice isn’t always easy. Recognizing trends or improper billing is difficult enough to spot yet alone fight to get your money back.

Allegedly claims were made about promised savings, possible rebates, and other rate changes that increased over time. Some are claiming rates are now double their former rates. As you can imagine, when this happens to enough people they team up to file a class-action lawsuit. At any given time there are numerous class-action lawsuits regarding private utility providers gouging customers who switched from public utilities.

You can learn much more at the link below and take the next steps to possibly get your money back.

We aren’t affiliated with classaction.org nor do we get a commission. Conduct your own due diligence.

Deadline 10/14/20: Did you buy or own a GE Microwave?

Deadline 10/14/20: Did you buy or own a GE Microwave?

You may be entitled to benefits if you purchased or owned a GE Profile or GE Monogram Brand Microwave Oven. The court approved a Settlemen on July 27, 2020 and it appears to be too late to exclude yourself from a claim but you still could get a benefit as part of the class action settlement.

Models covered are JEB1090, JEB1095, ZMC1090, or ZMC1095 manufactured between 1995 and 2007. Filling out a claim form can be done within a few minutes. Click the links below to review the case and begin the process. You can contact the Settlement Administrator at info@GraysonSettlement.com or 1-855-913-0602 (Toll-Free).

ATTN: Contact Lens Buyers – must act by 12/4/20

ATTN: Contact Lens Buyers – must act by 12/4/20

Did you purchase contact lenses online from 2004 through 2019?

You have until December 4, 2020 to complete a Claim Form to be considered to receive a payment from the Settlements in Thompson v. 1 800 Contacts, Inc., Vision Direct, Inc., Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc., Walgreen Co., Arlington Contact Lens Service, Inc., National Vision, Inc., Luxottica of America, Inc. (f/k/a Luxottica Retail North America, Inc.), No. 2:16-cv-01183 (D. Utah).

A snapshot of the companies involved and timeframes are shown below. We understand there is approximately $40,000,000 of potential settlement of which some is likely to go to third parties, legal fees, plaintiffs, and elsewhere.

For 1-800-CONTACTS buyers, it’s simple to get your order history on 1-800-CONTACTS website. Login to your account and find ‘Order History’. Add the total of online contact lens purchases within the applicable date range.

There may be more than one way to file a claim but one 3rd party administrator handling this suit is shown below and they have a simple form with more information about the process.

We are not providing legal advice nor will we help complete the form. This is information for you to act on if you feel you may be entitled to a claim. Do your own due diligence before filing a claim. We are here to share ways for consumers to get their money back and make the wrong…right. Filing a claim can remove other rights you may want to pursue. Click on the links above as a couple options to learn more about the case.

You also may contact the Settlement Administrator at 1-888-506-0436 or the following address:

Thompson v. 1-800 Contacts, Inc.
c/o CPT Group, Inc.
50 Corporate Park
Irvine, CA 92606

Six Sigma & Lean Manufacturing

Six Sigma & Lean Manufacturing

Six-Sigma-Material.com is a popular source for free content. The site focuses on the the methodolgies and tools used within SIx Sigma and Lean Manufacturing.

The site focuses ont the DMAIC path. It covers the most commonly used tools from start to finish. Each topic (such as MSA, ANOVA, Normality Assumption, p-value, DOE, etc) has simple explanations, examples, and practice certification problems. They’re offering a 1 week free trial to access and free and paid content. Per the website, a subscription includes the following.

  • Access to all pages within the site. Thousands of pages of material, examples, practice problems, and more added monthly. Your secret source to success.
  • We’ll offer to help you (within reason) on particular topics, just send an email.
  • Special offers from Six-Sigma-Material or affiliates as available.
  • Free downloads throughout the site that are not available to the public.
  • “Refer a Friend” discount (scroll down to learn more).
  • Group membership discounts
  • Cancel anytime

They also have templates, tables, and calculators to help Green Belts and Blacks Belts execute their projects.

Can you claim a Tax Education Credit?

Can you claim a Tax Education Credit?

The IRS has a 10 minute quiz to help determine whether you may be able to claim a Tax Education Credit. This will help you determine if you’re eligible for certain educational credits or deductions including the American Opportunity Credit, the Lifetime Learning Credit, and the Tuition and Fees Deduction.

Be prepared with the following because you’ll have to start over after 15 minutes of inactivity.

  • Filing status.
  • Student’s enrollment status.
  • Your adjusted gross income.
  • Who paid the expenses, when the expenses were paid, and for what academic period. 
  • If any expenses were paid with tax-exempt funds.
  • If any expenses were paid with distributions from a Coverdell Education Savings Account or Qualified Tuition Program.

The tool is designed for taxpayers that were U.S. citizens or resident aliens for the entire tax year for which they’re inquiring. If married, the spouse must also have been a U.S. citizen or resident alien for the entire tax year. For information regarding nonresidents or dual-status aliens, please see International Taxpayers.

Remember…its not how much you earn but rather how much you keep. Learn about other ways to reduce the cost of tuition and college related costs.

Tuition Free Schools

Tuition Free Schools

Free tuition does exist and may become more popular in the future. Of course these are few and far between and come with qualifications. The catch is that “free” doesn’t equate to covering all educational expenses. But it’s worth the look if you’re in the hunt. The link below explains more. 

If you have comments, experience, or feedback related to this topic please login and contribute below.

Major US airlines drop Change Fees

Major US airlines drop Change Fees

Change Fees account for a respectable amount of income for the airlines. However these benefits seem to outweigh the more dire need to enticing passenger bookings. This large source of revenue has already been curtailed by American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Airlines, and Southwest Airlines. Alaska Airlines joined the group today and is permanently dropping change fees effective immediately.

This move is centered at improving passenger traffic and flexibility as airlines struggle to move forward during the pandemic. A Change Fee typically ranges from $125 to $200 and provides over $1 billion dollars/yr in revenue to these airlines. The hope is to sacrifice a small amount a revenue relative to the potential gain by luring back consumers to fly.

There are specific terms and conditions as to how this change applies to international flights, reward programs, and types of tickets. You may have to buy a refundable ticket for this to apply. The link below has a table which summarizes the airlines policies but make sure to review your airlines policy regulary as they seem to be change frequently.

DNA Testing

DNA Testing

Many of the DNA testing companies are offering discounts due to the growing popularity and competition. Visit our new section regarding DNA testing to review the topic and options. Get the most our of your money and determine which type of test best suits your goals.

23andMe® has a calculator to help determine if you can use FSA/HSA funds to reimburse the cost of their test. They claim up to $117 may be reimbursible when purchasing thier Health + Ancestry option.

We do not have an affiliation with 23andMe® nor do we receive any commissions.

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Senior Advantage – another option to save money

Senior Advantage – another option to save money

Here’s another on-line option for Seniors that provides various tools, coupons, and discountsre to help you save money. They also offer basic information to live a thriftier and healthier lifestyle.

“Senior Advantage customers get access to a deal portal, budgeting tool, 365-day personalized meal plan, educational material and much more. Our mission is to make life better for the 50-plus population by providing them with modern technology tools they can use in their daily life.”

https://seniorsadvantage.org/ on October 23, 2020

We don’t have an affiliation with Senior Advantage nor do we earn any commission. We’re just trying to share opportunities that may help you save (and keep) more of your hard-earned money.

Do you live(d) in Ohio? Could be money for you…

Do you live(d) in Ohio? Could be money for you…


There’s a good chance you, a family member, or friend have ‘Unclaimed Property’ in Ohio. This process to check is simple and takes just a couple minutes, There are millions of dollars the state is trying to help find a rightful owner but it starts with you. This applies to those that currently live or have lived in Ohio in the past. You may even have a claim to a deceased person.

Once you discover a potential claim there is some personal information needed by the State. Depending on the claim there may be more information needed. The state paid out several millions last year. The search is too easy to not at least try. It’s free and legitimate.

The process is typically fairly simple to do yourself or with the help of a family member or friend. You can also call Customer Support 877-644-6824 or email UnfdClaims.UnfdClaims@com.state.oh.us.

Keeping Americans Connected

Keeping Americans Connected

The FCC is tracking hundreds of companies that have already pledged COVID-19 support to help consumers. This pledge includes to:

  1. not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic;
  2. waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic; and
  3. open its Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.

Click below to see a list of companies and actions above and beyond the pledge.

Getting a refund from Amazon

Getting a refund from Amazon

Amazon has an A-to-Z Guarantee to help resolve problems with purchases. Eligilibility requirements are found here. One of Amazon’s competitive advantage is their reputation to make things right and protect the consumer. Follow the six steps below to begin the process.

  1. Go to ‘Your Orders’.
  2. Locate your order in the list and click ‘Problem with Order’.
  3. Select your problem from the list.
  4. Select ‘Request Refund’.
  5. Enter your comments in the text box. (see our section on Effective Complaining before entering comments)
  6. Select ‘Submit’.

The review process can take time depending on the nature of the issue. If you’re not satisfied with the outcome there’s an appeals procedure. Comment below on your experience and join the community trying to make wrong….right.

DNA Testing

Black Friday – MyHeritage DNA for $39!

As expected there are several discounts offered today on DNA testing kits. One of the best we’ve seen is with MyHeritage DNA with a $40 reduction from $79 to $39. The site states there is FREE shipping on 2 or more kits. Their site requires an account but there are a couple social login options to make it slightly more convenient.

Click on the link below to learn more.

We do not have an affiliation with My Heritage, just trying to provide information to find discounts and keep your hard-earned money.