According to the USDA, an average family of four spends upwards of $1000 per month on groceries.
What if you could save five percent of that cost?
Better yet, what if you could earn 60,000 frequent flyer miles each year just from your grocery spending?
Since I’ve never seen this mentioned elsewhere, I wanted point out that Staples.com is now selling Safeway gift cards.
If you purchase Safeway gift cards with an small business credit card that pays five times points on office supply store purchases, such as a Chase Ink card, you can accumulate five percent cash back or five times points for travel.
Staples.com sells two types of Safeway gift cards in several denominations up to $200 — emailed cards, and actual plastic gift cards. There is a mailing fee of $2.00 per card for the plastic version.
I have been buying these cards for sometime, and have only encountered two Safeway cashiers that know how to use the emailed version of the gift cards. So if you opt for the paper gift cards, be prepared to endure the wrath of shoppers standing in line behind you!
Did you know about this deal before reading this post?
Twice a year,in June and December, AAA MidAtlanticmembers can buy Visa gift cards fee free in AAA stores.
The promotion is back this year from November 25 – December 25, 2016. You can purchase these gift cards with a credit card, and can load up to $500 per card. Typically, AAA limits purchases to two cards per member. The cards are issued by MetaBank®, and you can set a pin.
Please note that there is a monthly inactivity fee of $2.95 after 12 consecutive months of inactivity.
Check your calendar. Thanksgiving is just a week away! If you are hosting this year, it is seriously time to start planning your menu!
Thanksgiving is a huge deal in our family. We traditionally have:
the meal before the meal;
the meal; and
the meal after the meal.
As our family celebration has grown to over twenty people (think two turkeys) it is sometimes practical to bring in prepared food. After all, the point of the holiday is to spend time with friends and family, not to be stuck in the kitchen all day.
The turkey was delicious — moist, flavorful, and nicely seasoned. The traditional side dishes complimented the turkey: crisp, vibrant green beans, tart cranberry orange sauce, real mashed potatoes, mushroom stuffing — the works!
In my estimation, the Whole Foods traditional Thanksgiving meal was a good value at $89 for six to eight diners.
Everything tasted homemade, the veggies were fresh, not soggy. This meal was far, far better than the $49 disaster I ordered from Safeway a few years back.
But you can do much better price wise!
What’s Included in the Whole Foods Traditional Thanksgiving Meal?
The basic package that feeds six to eight people is on sale at Whole Foods Market for $89 and includes an uncooked oven ready turkey, gravy, traditional sage stuffing, homestyle mashed potatoes, organic cranberry orange relish, and a choice of two vegetables or homestyle casseroles. All this is on sale from the regular price of $119.99.
The small turkey included in the basic package weighs about 13 pounds.
For larger gatherings, a dinner that serves 12-16 costs $169.
You choose the style of turkey from five offerings:
Heirloom bronze (higher percentage of dark meat)
The ready-to-cook turkey is rubbed with herb butter, and rests on a bed of mirepoix. You just need to pop it in the oven.
You can choose two vegetables or casseroles from this list:
Maple carrots with pecans
Roasted brussels sprouts
Green beans with roasted shallots
Organic harvest roasted vegetables
Garlic roasted fingerling potatoes
Organic corn pudding
Butternut sweet potato casserole
Organic green bean casserole
Macaroni and cheese
And for $99, you can get a fully organic turkey dinner with a slightly different selection of sides.
You schedule a time for pickup with your local Whole Foods store — they are even open Thanksgiving morning if that works for you!
Five Ways to Save Big on the Whole Foods Thanksgiving Package Deal
Fishing4Deals is all about the deals, so I am going to show you five ways to maximize your savings.
Shop the sale
Order online and get a $10 off coupon
Get the Whole Foods App
Seek out local specials
Pay with Whole Foods Gift Cards purchased at a discount
Shop the Sale
Whole Foods is offering special deals on some other Thanksgiving basics. For instance, you can order two bakery quality pumpkin pies for $15. Fruit pies are $9.99 each. The store is featuring a Cuvee Papale red wine for $10 off.
Order Online and Get a $10 Coupon
If you place your dinner order online before November 22, 2016, Whole Foods will email you a coupon for $10 off your next in-store purchase of $75 or more.
Get the Whole Foods App
Download the Whole Foods app for Apple or Android. If you’re not using the app, you may be missing out on some pretty big discounts.
Every Wednesday, Whole Foodsloads new deals that are only available by scanning a barcode on your phone when you check out.
The app also provides weekly coupon specials that are available to all shoppers.
Seek Out Local Specials
Pick up the weekly flyer of in-store sales and the bimonthly coupon book at the front of the store. You may find some seasonal specials for your Thanksgiving table.
For instance (for my Northern Virginia friends) the Tysons Corner Whole Foods Market is offering 25 percent off a bottle of wine!
Pay with Whole Foods Gift Cards Purchased at a Discount
Here’s the real deal: I never pay cash or credit at Whole Foods Market.
My trick is to buy Whole Foods gift cards at a discount.
For example, Staples sells Whole Foods gift cards. There is no fee for the purchase of these gift cards in-store. If you pay with a Chase Ink small business credit card, which earns five times points at office supply stores, that effectively amounts to five percent off the cost of groceries at Whole Foods.
Alternately, if you have an American Express card, check your AmexOffers for a deal at Staples. My card has an active offer for a $20 statement credit for a $75 purchase at Staples. Purchases of Whole Foods and many other gift cards are eligible for this offer — which could bring the cost of your turkey dinner down to $69!
You may also be able to find Whole Foods gift cards at a drugstore like Walgreens. The Chase Freedom credit card is offering five times points at drugstores this quarter. If you purchase a Whole Foods gift card at a drugstore and pay with a Freedom card, you will earn five percent cash back.
If You’re Not Cooking, You Have Time to Decorate
Williams-Sonoma partnered with Whole Foods Market for the blogger meet up, and they provided two sample table settings to create a festive mood.
The first tablescape was designed for a formal dinner, complete with seasonal china and serving bowls.
The second casual tablescape featured porcelain dishes from William-Sonoma’s economical Provisions line, and modern serving pieces from the Open Kitchen line.
Do these designs give you any ideas for your own celebratory feast?
Cousins in New Jersey are hosting Thanksgiving this year, so I won’t be cooking. Where will you be spending the holiday?
Disclosure: I have a partnership with Whole Foods Market and was compensated for my work, but all words and opinions are my own.
Temperatures this August in Washington, DC have reached record highs.
Anyone who’s anyone has decamped to Martha’s Vineyard.
That means restaurateurs are trying to fill their tables by offering fixed price menu specials: $22 for lunch, and $35 for dinner.
Over 260 restaurants in DC, Maryland, and Virginia are participating in DC Restaurant Week, which runs from August 15 – 21, 2016. It’s a good opportunity to try some of the region’s highly acclaimed (and expensive) restaurants. Several that are tempting me include:
Del Campo — Latin American in Penn Quarter
Dino’s Grotto — Italian in Shaw
Jaleo — Spanish in Penn Quarter
Oyamel — Mexican in Penn Quarter
Rasika — Indian in Penn Quarter
Zaytinya — Mediterranean in Penn Quarter
Restaurant Week at Ford’s Fish Shack
We snagged a great deal at a fabulous seafood restaurant in Loudoun County: Ford’s Fish Shack.
Amex has been bending over backwards lately to encourage me to keep my Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) business credit card open.
I had been set to cancel the card when the annual fee went up from $65 per year to $95.
But American Express has been wooing me back with special offers.
First, I received a targeted offer for 5,000 bonus points if I spent $5000 on the card, and 10,000 bonus points if I spend $10,000.
Ordinarily, those spending thresholds would be far out of reach.
But thanks to a number of concurrent Amex Offers, that provide statement credits for purchases at popular vendors, such as Staples and Home Depot, I hope to qualify for these bonus points.
Amex SPG Surprise Retention Bonus
Amex is reluctant to waive the annual fee on their SPG credit cards, but it never hurts to ask!
In my case, after talking to a customer service representative, I was transferred to a “loyalty representative.”
The second representative offered me a $25 statement credit if I agreed to keep my credit card account open. That doesn’t bring the annual fee down to the original $65, but it is close.
I believe I can more than offset the $70 fee with rebates via “Amex Offers,” but it remains to be seen what the offers will be in the coming months. I can usually take advantage of offers for pet food or groceries, and Amex has has been pushing a number of travel offers lately.
Have you snagged a retention bonus for an Amex card?
Here’s a tiny hack that might help you get a better seat on your return trip when flying Southwest Airlinesroundtrip in a single day.
Southwest Airlines does not assign seats, and follows an open seating model.
Customers board in order of the group (A, B, or C) and number (one to sixty) on their boarding pass. The earlier you check in, up to 24 hours prior to your flight, the earlier your assigned spot in line.
Group A boarding passes put you at the front of the line, increasing the likelihood that you can sit with your travel companions, and giving you the best chance for a window or aisle seat.
Cool Tools has a neat trick to up your chances of getting Group A boarding passes for both legs of your trip when flying out and back on the same day.
As Cool Tools notes,
If you book a one-day round trip on Southwest, you won’t be allowed to check in for the return flight until after you complete the first flight.
However, if you book two one-way trips instead of a round trip, you can check in for both flights exactly 24 hours before the scheduled departure.
Two one-way tickets are priced identically to a round-trip ticket, so there is no extra cost to pursuing this strategy.
If you see a beautiful woman wearing a kimono on the streets of Kyoto, chances are they are a tourist, not a Geisha.
The city of Kyoto, Japan is promoting traditional arts in a variety of ways, including an innovative program to encourage people to dress in kimonos.
The Kyoto Kimono Passportoffers discounts or small gifts to people wearing kimonos at dozens of restaurants, shops, and museums.
At certain times of the year, you can even get free bus and subway rides and reduced taxi fares!
If you love to dress up, this may be the deal for you!
Kimonos and the necessary accessories are available to rent at lots of places in Kyoto. For an extra fee, you can get your hair styled.
With the Kimono Passport in hand, if your outfit becomes disheveled, there are a number of places that will help reassemble your kimono free of charge.
Benefits of the Kyoto Kimono Passport
A list of all of the discounts available with the Kyoto Kimono Passport is available online. The many dozens of places where small discounts or gifts are offered include:
Temples and shrines
Restaurants and cafes
The small gifts might include something like a free postcard, or a hair ornament to go with your kimono rental, or 100 Yen off a museum admission.
The more valuable savings are probably the restaurant discounts. A huge number of commercial establishments in the Kyoto Station participate in the Passport Program.
Your best bet may be the restaurants in the Isetan department store in the train station, which offer ten percent off to patrons wearing kimonos. The Isetan store has a large variety of restaurants in different price ranges, including nine casual ramen shops.
How to Access the Kyoto Kimono Passport
The easiest place for tourists to pick up the passport booklet is in Kyoto Station at the Tourist Information Center.
Alternately, you can just print out a passport card online.
There is also a smart phone app available in the Japan app store.
This year’s Kyoto Kimono Passport is valid from October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016. Some discounts may have a limited validity period, so be sure to check the details of each offer. For instance, the discounts at temples and shrines are only valid during the Autumn months.