Walmart announced something that can make your shopping easier. It is called Walmart Voice Order. It will be rolled out to more and more customers over the next few weeks.

Beginning this month, customers can say, “Hey Google, talk to Walmart” and the Google Assistant will add items directly to their Walmart Grocery cart. Best of all, customers can be extra confident that Walmart can quickly and accurately identify the items they are asking for with the help of information from their prior purchases with Walmart. The more you use it, the better it will get.

Let’s say that your family likes the Great Value (Walmart Brand) 1% milk. After you use Google Assistant to add items to your Walmart Grocery cart long enough, it will learn what you like to buy. After that, when you tell Google Assistant “add milk to my cart”, it will know that you want it to add a gallon of Great Value 1% milk.

Google Assistant is available on more than a billion devices, including Smart Displays like Google Home Hub, Android phones, iPhones, watches and more. Customers can manage their shopping carts while they’re at home or on the go.

Walmart has learned that when using voice technology, customers like to add items to their carts one at a time over a few days. They don’t complete their shopping list for the week all at once. The “Hey Google, talk to Walmart” skill is capable of allowing customers to add items to their Walmart Grocery cart a little at a time.

Walmart is kicking off this service with Google Assistant, but is planning to add others to the mix as time goes on. If your family buys the same foods, from the same brands, every week – Google Assistant can help you save time while filling your Walmart Grocery cart.

Amazon and Whole Foods announced a third round of price cuts that began on Wednesday, April 3, 2019. Whole Foods will be offering new lower prices on fresh produce for all customers and expanded Prime benefits with more exclusive weekly deals on popular products across departments.

Starting Wednesday, customers will find new lower prices on hundreds of items throughout the store with an emphasis on high quality, peak-of-season produce, including greens, tomatoes, tropical fruits and more.

Examples of these new lower prices include large yellow mangoes ($1/each), mixed-medley cherry tomatoes ($3.49/12 oz.), and organic bunched rainbow chard ($1.99/each). Prices will be reduced by an average of 20 percent on select items throughout the store.

In addition to new lower prices for all shoppers, Amazon Prime members will now save more than ever before at Whole Foods Market with double the number of exclusive weekly Prime Member deals and deeper discounts. Over the next few months, customers can expect more than 300 Prime member deals on some of the season’s most popular items.

Examples of exclusive Prime member deals in April that will rotate on a weekly basis include:

  • Organic asparagus $2.99/lb (save $2.00)
  • Organic strawberries $2.99/lb (save $2.00)
  • Sumo Citrus: $2.49/lb (save $1.50)
  • Air-chilled, no antibiotics-ever, whole chicken: $1.79/lb (save at least 40%)
  • Spiral sliced ham: $3.99.lb (save at least 33%)
  • Animal welfare-rated bone in pork loin chops: $4.99/lb (save at least $2.00)
  • Fresh, sustainable wild-caught halibut filet: $16.99/lb (save at least 35%)
  • 35% off all Justins brand products
  • $20 off Vega One Organic Shakes (24.3-26.9 ounce sizes only)
  • 40% off all Kite Hill plant-based proteins
  • 35% off all Epic brand products
  • Prepared sandwiches and wraps: 20% off
  • Prime members can also receive an additional 10 percent off hundreds of sale items throughout the store.

These price reductions will build on the hundreds of lower prices that have been introduced to customers since the Amazon and Whole Foods Market merger, ranging from Whole Trade organic bananas and Chobani yogurt to 365 Everyday Value Cage-Free Large Eggs.

Student loan debt can be a big burden. There are many ideas about how to pay off student loans. Not every idea will work for everyone. It all depends on your individual financial situation. Here are some options to consider. 

Automate Your Payments

State Farm suggests that you automate your student loan payments. Start making payments right away, so you can whittle down the student loan debt as quickly as possible. 

The biggest benefit from doing this is that you cannot accidentally forget to make an automated payment. The risk is that your current financial situation might not enable you to have enough money in your bank account for that automated payment.

Use “Found” Money

Nerd Wallet recommends you use “found money” on your student loan debt. When you get a raise, or a bonus, put that “found” money into your student loan debt. The advantage of doing this is that you can chip away your student loan debt without taking the money out of your budget.

The disadvantage of this idea is that you probably won’t get a raise or bonus as often as you would need to in order to rely on it to pay your student loan debt. In that case, Nerd Wallet recommends you put away any $5 or $10 bills you receive toward your student loan debt.

Consolidate Your Student Loans

Forbes points out that it may be possible to consolidate your student loans. Some people are able to consolidate their existing federal student loans into a single Direct Consolidation Loan.

The benefit of doing this is that it takes multiple monthly student loan payments and turns it into a single monthly payment. The down side is that one monthly payment might be higher than the average amount of your multiple student loan payments.

Spring cleaning is the perfect time to do all the household cleaning work that you couldn’t easily do while the weather was cold. Not everyone enjoys cleaning and decluttering. The good news is that you can do Spring cleaning the frugal way.

Doormats

Cleaning the dirt out of your doormats is a good way to prevent dirt and debris from tracking through your home. Refresh the doormats by hosing them off outside, on a warm day. Find a good place to set them so they can air dry.

Windows

Instead of buying glass cleaner, you can make your own! A blog called My Mommy World has a recipe for homemade glass cleaner that includes white vinegar and dish detergent. You might have both of those things at home right now. 

Use a soft cloth, or an old t-shirt to clean the windows. The t-shirt can be washed and used again. Paper towels can leave bits of paper on your window, can only be used once, and cost money to buy.

Bathtub or Shower

The Frugal Family Home blog has a recipe for homemade shower cleaner. It includes vinegar and Dawn Liquid Dish Soap. Again, you probably have those things at home already. You may want to open the windows to allow the vinegar smell to dissipate after you are done cleaning.

Decluttering

Netflix has a show that features Marie Kondo, a Japanese organizing consultant. In each episode, she teaches people the skills they need to learn in order to find out what items spark joy. In short, you should keep the things that spark joy and donate or throw out the ones that do not.

The items that do not spark joy for you can be donated to charities. Or, you could have a garage sale.

Is there an Amazon 4-Star store near you? It might not be there for very much longer! Amazon announced that it will close all of its 87 pop-up locations in the U.S. in April of 2019.

The Amazon 4-Star stores were located inside Whole Foods stores, Kohl’s stores, and malls around the United States. These stores featured Amazon products such as Fire Tablets, Kindle e-readers, and Echo smart speakers. Other products in the stores were limited to only those that got at least 4 stars on Amazon.

What can you do if your local Amazon 4-Star store closes? The easiest replacement is Amazon’s website. Obviously, it won’t allow you to try out a Fire Tablet before you buy it. The website will have some deals that were not available at the Amazon 4-Star stores, and a wider selection of products.

The Amazon Go stores, which are cashierless grocery stores, are not closing. These stores sell grab-and-go food items like prepared sandwiches, salads, yogurt, and granola bars. In order to shop at Amazon Go, you must have an Amazon account, the Amazon Go app, and a recent-generation iPhone or Android phone.

Amazon has considered opening as many as 3,000 Amazon Go locations by 2021. Amazon has also said it will open more Amazon 4-Star locations and additional Amazon Books stores this year.

In addition, Amazon is exploring a strategy of strengthening its new supermarket brand by purchasing regional grocery chains that operate at least a dozen stores. Amazon may open grocery shopping centers in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia.

This could mean that your local grocery store chain could be bought by Amazon. The Amazon grocery stores will compete with Walmart. Do some price comparison before you grocery shop. One will have better prices than the other.

When is the best time to buy a new appliance? There are many good answers to that question. Consider your motivations, your current financial state, and whatever sales are happening before you shop.

When you have the money

Do some price comparison and figure out what an average price is for the appliance you want to buy. Start saving up that money, as best you can. Ideally, you will be able to slowly save up for a new appliance before the current one breaks.

What if your refrigerator has already “died”? You might have to buy a new one with your credit card. This is especially true if your fridge is full of food from a fresh trip to the grocery store. Wait too long, and the food will rot.

When there is a holiday

Stores that sell large appliances often have sales during holidays. If the holiday comes with a three-day weekend, or a random day off of work – there will be an appliance sale happening. Some of the best times to buy appliances include: President’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and the Fourth of July.

When the month is about to end

Have you ever worked in retail? If so, then you are aware that the end of the month is a stressful time when stores rush to fulfill their quotas. Managers will push workers to make more sales before the month ends.

Visit a store that sells appliances a few days before the end of the month. You are in the best position to try and negotiate for a lower price on the appliance you want to buy.

When the store is closing

When Sears closed its stores, shoppers came to get great deals on appliances. J.C. Penney recently made the decision to stop selling appliances – and is in the process of some stores. Customers can expect big discounts on appliances when stores are closing.

Target has introduced Target + (pronounced “Target Plus”). It is a curated assortment of products from third-party sellers on Target.com. It is designed to complement Target’s current assortment with thoughtfully selected additions in popular areas like home, toys, electronics and sporting goods.

To start, Target + will offer an expanded array of running shoes, more outdoor décor and patio accessories, a broadened assortment of STEM learning toys, new musical instruments and baseball gear for all skill levels.

You can find Target + products seamlessly integrated into Target.com with new items added in categories that you would love to see more product in. You won’t find Target + items at Target’s brick-and-mortar stores.

Target says each partner is carefully selected and invited into the program, guests will find more of what they’re looking for with the high quality and value they expect to find at Target.

“Target + provides guests with a curated selection of product choices that enhance our existing assortment, with the perks they enjoy from Target, like 5% off with a Target REDcard, free shipping and easy in-store returns,” said Rick Gomez, Target’s chief marketing and digital officer.

“Guests look to Target for great products. With Target +, we aim to give them easy access to even more great products by partnering with best-in-class speciality and national brands that will help guests save more and get more done in just one stop to Target.com.”

What does this mean for fans of Target? It means you now have more opportunists to save money on things you love. Buy a Target + product from Target.com, use your REDcard, and save 5% on that item. The REDcard savings works the same for regular Target and for Target + products.

If you purchase a Target + item, and find that it wasn’t as you expected it to be, you can return it. Based on what Rick Gomez said, it looks like you can return Target + items to Target’s physical stores.

J.C. Penney was founded in 1902. It is about to close many of its stores. This decision follows the one made earlier this year by the company, when it decided to stop selling appliances in its stores.

So far, J.C. Penney has declined to release a list of stores that it intends to close. There’s no way to know if the J.C. Penney stores near you are going to close or stick around for a while longer. Some customers may find that frustrating, because it makes it difficult to plan where and when to shop.

WTAE reported on February 28, 2019, that J.C. Penney would be closing “another 18 department stores, as well as nine home and furniture stores.” USA Today reported, the same day, that J.C. Penney would be closing “15 additional full-line stores and nine home-and-furniture department stores.”

What does this mean for frugal shoppers? It means you should shop the “Final Take Clearance Up to 80% Off” sale at J.C. Penney. The sale is good both in their brick-and-mortar stores and on the store’s website.

Very few clearance sales offer 80% off items. There may be even bigger sales coming as the stores get close to closing.

It also means that people who want to get new furniture should consider going to J.C. Penney to find it. The store nearest you might not be around for much longer. There’s a chance you may find good deals on furniture at stores that are secretly going to close soon.

Do you have a J.C. Penney credit card? You may want to consider making an effort to pay off the amount you still owe on it. It is no fun to have debt on a credit card for a store that closed. Try to pay it down before the card becomes useless. 

Payless ShoeSource is closing all 2,100 of its stores that are located in the United States and Puerto Rico. It will start liquidation sales on Sunday, March 10, 2019. Now is a good time to go to the Payless ShoeSource near you and stock up on shoes.

According to USA Today, Payless.com is no longer accepting any online orders. CNN says that although Payless ShoeSource is starting liquidations sales on March 10, 2019, most of the stores will remain open until May. 

This means that those who want to get some good deals on shoes, socks, and accessories, need to go to a brick-and-mortar Payless ShoeSource to shop.

The sooner you go, the larger the selection the store will have. Wait too long, and you might get a deep discount – but will likely have a limited selection of products to choose from.

Tips for getting the best deals at Payless ShoeSource:

Buy what you need

Do you need to replace a worn out pair of shoes? Has your workplace required you to wear steel-toed or non-slip shoes? Did your kids outgrow the tennis shoes they started the school year with? Bring the family shopping and buy what you need.

Stocking up

Adults who have stopped growing probably won’t change shoe sizes anytime soon. This means you can safely stock up on additional pairs of work shoes, tennis shoes, dress shoes, and sandals, without worrying that you will outgrow them.

Children and teens are still growing. Don’t stock up on shoes for them. They might outgrow those shoes before they get a chance to wear them!

Use your coupons

If you signed up to get email from Payless ShoeSource, you may have some coupons that you can print out and take to the store. Check to see when they expire. You may as well use the ones that are still valid now, before all the Payless stores close.

March is National Frozen Food Month. Every year in March, the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) puts together a program that highlights frozen foods. You can save money on frozen foods from many brands in March!

Coupons.com is participating in National Frozen Foods Month. You can expect to see digital coupons for the brands that are sponsoring this year’s program. Visit Coupons.com for more details about what kinds of coupons you can download and print out.

In addition, you should look for coupons at the grocery store. The frozen food aisles might have a bunch of coupon dispensers for brands that want to attract customers during National Frozen Foods Month.

The Easy Home Meals website has a lot going on for National Frozen Foods Month. You can find plenty of recipes that include frozen foods. There are also some tips about food waste and food safety.

Easy Home Meals is doing a Giveaway and a Sweepstakes. You can enter the March Frozen Food Month $10,000 Sweepstakes from now through April 1, 2019. There are a total of 18 prizes, including a Grand Prize of a $1,000 supermarket gift card.

Easy Home Meals also has a March Frozen Food Month Coupon Giveaway. Enter for a chance to win 1 of 12 coupon books for your favorite frozen foods products. You must enter by March 29, 2019.

The 2019 participating brands are:

  • Celentano
  • Conagra
  • Dole
  • Eggo
  • Giant eagle
  • Green Giant
  • InnovAsian
  • José Olé
  • Michael Angelo’s
  • PictSweet Farms
  • Rosina Real Italian Style
  • Totino’s
  • Tai Pei
  • Palermo’s Primo Thin
  • Best Yet
  • Piggly Wiggly
  • Harris Teeter
  • ACME