< Back

This Week In Your Wallet: How To Help Houston After Harvey

Like so many of you, I’m sure, I spent the past few days glued to television coverage of the disaster in Texas. Events like this have a habit of bringing out both the best in us — and the worst of us. Shortly (if it hasn’t happened already), scam artists will attempt to profit by encouraging you to donate funds to help the victims of Harvey — then pocketing that money themselves. If you’d like to give and aren’t local to the disaster, a good rule of thumb is to give money, not stuff. Eventually, the victims may have a use for the blankets/towels/coats/school supplies/etc. that you’d like to send — but likely not now. Right now, money is what’s most needed. Here’s where you can send it.

And now onto our other stories…

Shopping Trip Tips For Warehouse Stores

Full disclosure: I have a love/hate relationship with Costco. That, by the way, is a recent improvement. It used to totally overwhelm me, but with my husband’s help, I learned how to avoid the things like massive jars of pickles (and other foodstuffs) that give me the heebie-jeebies, take up too much room in my fridge and inevitably get thrown out half-eaten. Now, I can make it through the aisles in under half an hour, and when I do, I pick up paper towels, toilet paper, Ziploc bags, laundry detergent, a big bag of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and (I was heartened to see) a few of the other items on this list of the 18 Best Warehouse Store Buys from Money Talks News. (Thanks, Consumer World, for bringing it to our attention.)

Whole(Sale) Foods?

And while we’re talking food shopping: Today was Amazon’s first official day as the owner of healthy food giant Whole Foods after a $13.7 billion purchase. How did it spend that first day? Slashing select item prices by as much as 43 percent, reports Bloomberg. At one Manhattan location, the price of organic rotisserie chicken fell from $13.99 to $9.99, and some bananas fell from 79 cents to 49 cents — an almost 38 percent drop. (For comparison’s sake, regular bananas are usually about 58 cents each at Wal-mart.)

I took it upon myself to investigate prices at another midtown Manhattan location and found the price of one kind of cheddar cheese to be down about 33 percent (was $11.99, now $7.99), plus deals on bread, granola bars, orange juice, trail mix and more. But it may not be time to rejoice for the long-term — and mentally commit to weekly Whole Foods shopping trips — just yet. The tags on sale prices say they’re only valid until 9/12 or 9/26. So, we’ll have to wait and see what sticks.

Data News For Verizon Customers

Then there’s Verizon, which is making some key changes to its unlimited data plans. The surprise deal it offered customers in February had an introductory rate of $80 per month before taxes and fees, but the word is that it’s no longer available to new customers. If your wireless plan is currently with Verizon (full disclosure: mine is), here’s what you should know.

Here’s another good rule of thumb: Whether you’re a Verizon customer or not, it’s a good idea to shop around before committing to anything. (In most cases, the extra time spent is usually worth the money saved.) NerdWallet has a good compare tool for cell phone plans — just put in how much data you think you’d need (or “unlimited”) and how many lines you’d be grouping. Look at your results, then block off some time on your calendar to call three of the top options and tell them about the other carriers’ similar offers. Use the competition to your advantage by asking what kind of additional discounts or promotions they can offer you to switch to their company. Take notes on who you speak to and what they say they can give you. Once you have all three of the companies’ final offers, call back and choose the one (if any) that looks best for your wallet. Happy negotiating!

Have a great week,


Subscribe to my free weekly Newsletter

We collect, use and process your data according to our Privacy Policy.