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Shoppers doing their best to avoid trekking to the store for household items and groceries have a new method to try.

Target Restock is expanding this fall to offer next-day delivery to customers in 11 major markets.

After launching the service in the Dallas, Denver and Minneapolis areas, Target has introduced Restock to Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Washington, D.C./Baltimore areas. The San Francisco area will also get Restock, but it doesn’t officially launch there until mid-October.

The program doesn’t offer a one-day shipping free-for-all for Target’s entire inventory; instead, it focuses on “more than 15,000 popular essentials,” like cleaning supplies and baby products, a release explained.

Shoppers can choose up to 45 pounds of Restock merchandise — there’s a tracker to see how full your cart is getting — and get it all delivered the next day for $4.99 shipping. Orders must be placed by 2 p.m. Monday through Friday in order to get next-day delivery.

Which Home Essentials Delivery Service Will Rule?

Target says its expanded Restock service will reach 70 million people, “about one-fifth of the U.S. population,” a corporate blog post noted. During its initial launch, macaroni and cheese was one of the most popular Restock items.

Target is trying to lure shoppers and boost its grocery game by lowering prices on household essentials. But convenience, not low prices, may be what wins customers over.

Amazon Prime Pantry offers $5.99 shipping on essentials orders of up to 45 pounds. It’s available across the contiguous United States, but since Pantry orders are delivered via ground shipping, orders can take up to four days to arrive. The service promises regular-sized products, instead of only shipping items available in bulk sizes.

It’s a dig at Jet, which offers free two-day shipping for orders over $35, but initially only had large sizes of the household essentials it carried. Jet’s product availability has expanded greatly, perhaps to the credit of its acquisition by Walmart — although Walmart offers its own free two-day shipping option.

But adding quick-delivery services like Restock and Pantry highlight the stiff competition grocery chains face in cultivating brand loyalty. As e-commerce goes toe-to-toe with in-store sales, retailers we once made weekly trips to are fighting for our attention.

Lisa Rowan is a writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder.

Want a free ride home after a night out one weekend? If you live in Texas, New York, Colorado, Illinois, Florida, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Georgia or Washington, D.C., Lyft can help.

The ride-share company teams up with Budweiser to offer two $10 credits toward rides between 5 p.m. and 5 a.m. local time on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights through the end of 2017. The expanded partnership is an effort to get customers safely to and from their destinations.

How to Get Free Lyft Rides Every Weekend

To get the Lyft URL for your two $10 credits, visit Budweiser’s Facebook or Instagram page every Thursday at 2 p.m.. Keep in mind the URL changes periodically, so make sure to check Budweiser’s social media pages for the latest link.

The credits are good for rides taken between 5 p.m. and 5 a.m. on Thursday, Friday or Saturday nights.

You may use the credit for Lyft rides in the following states:

  • Texas
  • New York
  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Florida
  • Massachusetts
  • Pennsylvania
  • Missouri
  • Georgia
  • Washington, D.C.

Why Take a Ride on Bud?

Lyft and Budweiser first joined forces in 2016 to curb drunk driving. Last year, Budweiser donated $1 to safe-ride programs every time someone used the hashtag #GiveaDamn.

“This partnership encourages passengers to make the right choice about how they get home and celebrates the drivers who make it possible.”​ Budweiser declared in a blog post announcing the expanded partnership.  

This offer is limited to 10,000 round-trip rides each weekend, so we suggest visiting the site at exactly 2 p.m. on Thursdays to get your credits. With your credits in hand, you can make some awesome plans for the weekend.

Lisa Rowan is a writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder.

There’s nothing quite like having a shiny new bike.

That is, until something goes awry.

Shifting gears just feels a little bit off, you know? Or a tire goes flat without warning.

Leaving the bike in the garage and wishing it would fix itself is easy. Sitting in front of YouTube and trying to make sense of DIY fix-it tutorials is harder.

Bike professionals can do wonders to fix your once-trusty steed, but their prices can be prohibitive. A regular tune-up can range from $50 to $150. Private mechanic instruction can help you figure out how to do repairs yourself later on, but it can run you $65 or more per hour.

The St. Petersburg Bike Co-Op offers cycling education and affordable bike-maintenance options in St. Petersburg, Florida. The nonprofit, which is housed in an old storage building owned by the City of St. Petersburg, is run by volunteers who open up shop two evenings per week.

Members pay $40 to $100 per year on a pay-what-you-can scale system, but anyone can drop in once and pay a fee of between $5 and $10 to access the shop and its tools.

Similarly structured co-ops exist around the country, in urban and suburban areas, as well as in college towns.

While one of the major perks is access to experienced bike mechanics who will answer questions and guide you through repairs, the real perk for yearlong members is access to the right tools. You use them, clean up after yourself and ride into the sunset. If you need a part, there’s probably a used spare stashed somewhere that you can buy at a deep discount.

We paid a visit to find out what happens on co-op night.

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[caption id="attachment_72665" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Co-op volunteer Sal Blanquet investigates used parts to find the best fit to install on a donated bicycle. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder[/caption]

No one shakes hands in greeting at the St. Petersburg Bike Co-op. There’s too much grease, too much sweat. And everyone’s holding something, whether it be an oily rag, a wrench or an entire bicycle wheel. The co-op is only open five hours each week. The night passes quickly.

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The co-op hosted a fundraiser to kick off operations in 2013 and raised $1,000 to buy its initial set of tools. Local bike shops send over used parts that might have a second life. Sometimes, people show up with boxes of bike parts.

“A lot of these bikes would end up in a dumpster or the landfill,” founder and president Carrie Waite says, overlooking a motley crew of vintage and modern bikes that have been wheeled out of the shed for co-op night. “It’s neat to be able to repurpose them and give them a new life.”

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Christy Foust, who lives in St. Petersburg, commutes around town on her bike but plans to take it on a trip across Canada in a few months. She’s been visiting the co-op over the spring and summer to prepare, tuning up her nearly 40-year-old bike with the help of volunteer mechanics like Daniel Mrgan, vice president and another founder of the co-op.

[caption id="attachment_72675" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Daniel Mrgan, left, helps Christy Foust tune up her vintage bicycle. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder[/caption]

Mrgan says stories like Foust’s are common at the co-op. “People decide they want to get in shape or they want to go on a special ride,” he says.

He recalled two young women who had commandeered their fathers’ old bikes and planned to take a cross-country bike trip together before they moved away from one another to take new jobs. “When they told me this,” Mrgan smiles but shakes his head, “I thought they were beyond help.” But in a couple of months, they were on their way.

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Leader and volunteer mechanic Chris Sheppard beams as he recalls a father and daughter team who visited before the daughter went off to college. Her bike needed a safety check; his bike needed a flat tire repaired.

Sheppard walked her through the repair steps, quizzing her on various tools and prepping her for the types of repairs she might need to do while she was at school.

“They both left smiling,” Sheppard said. “She left way more confident” and with one less thing to stress about as she left for college.

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“The kids are the best. They get so invested,” Waite says as she watches Sebastian Blanquet, son of longtime volunteer Sal, help volunteer Jessica Jacobs install a set of bike pedals. “The idea of do-it-yourself really resonates with them.”

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[caption id="attachment_72664" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Jessica Jacobs, left, installs a set of bike pedals with help from Sebastian Blanquet. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder[/caption]

Sheppard chats with Gregory Nista, talking him through the process of truing, or straightening, the wheel of his bike.

“Getting the wheels straight can be a game,” Sheppard says as he slowly spins the wheel toward him, stooping just slightly and squinting to spot imperfections in the alignment.

Meanwhile, Nista anticipates the next task, darting around the shed to grab tools and a tube to insert into his tire.

Sheppard says that wheels and tires usually need the most work, as they bear the weight of the rider and the hazards of the road. But working on a bike is satisfying, he says. “It makes your brain work,” Sheppard nods. “It makes you self-sufficient.”

[caption id="attachment_72674" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Chris Sheppard straightens a bike wheel for Gregory Nista. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder[/caption]

Nista knows the value of self-sufficiency. He describes himself as “upper homeless,” a transient who relies on his bike to get to temporary jobs from the PeopleReady staffing office a few miles away.

“My bike is my life,” Nista says. “I ride it all over.” He’s cycled to Tallahassee and back several times, taking a 350-mile route that passes through several Florida cities. “I can save some money and hit the road,” he says — as long as he has his bike.

Lisa Rowan is a writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder.

Heather Comparetto (IG: heatheretto) is a photographer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s exhibited her photographs internationally, loves the ocean, and enjoys coffee and tacos (but not together).

What else could go wrong for Equifax right now?

First, it admitted that 143 million consumers were affected by a security breach that took months to catch and patch. Then, news emerged of an earlier attack involving an Equifax payroll service getting compromised back in March.

The FBI and the Department of Justice are investigating the latter amid concerns that executives dumped their stock once the security breaches became evident.

In the midst of all this, concerned consumers are dealing with confusing rules of engagement from Equifax — and scam calls from outsiders.

The latest wrinkle in this web-security nightmare: Equifax gave out the wrong address to its breach-education website.

Reports show that Equifax representatives on Twitter directed consumers to securityEquifax2017.com on several occasions.

But the real website to see if you’re affected is Equifaxsecurity2017.com.

Whoops! But this simple mistake calls out how deep Equifax is mired in this debacle.

It’s Not a Scam, but it’s Complicated

The Verge detailed this URL mix-up and interviewed a very important player: Nick Sweeting, a developer who set up the spoof website.

“I made the site because Equifax made a huge mistake by using a domain that doesn't have any trust attached to it,” Sweeting told The Verge. “It makes it ridiculously easy for scammers to come in and build clones — they can buy up dozens of domains, and typo-squat to get people to type in their info.”

Using Equifax.com/security2017, for instance, would associate the consumer action steps with the company and indicate the authenticity of the site.

Sweeting’s site doesn’t retain any consumer information, and Sweeting told the Verge he contacted Equifax about the challenges of its web address before customer service shared his spoof site. At the time of this writing, Sweeting’s spoof site is not available.

Equifax has removed the tweets sharing the incorrect URL.

How to Keep Your Information Safe

Is your head swimming with all this information about the Equifax breach? Take a deep breath: You really only need to remember these steps.

1. Visit Equifaxsecurity2017.com to find out if your information was compromised. Equifax offers free credit monitoring to those whose personal information has been exposed. If you don’t want to hang out with Equifax any more than you have to, there are other options — most of which have free versions that can catch major issues.

2. Don’t give information to anyone who contacts you about the breach. Equifax noted it will send snail mail to people whose credit card numbers were exposed. If you receive communication from someone claiming to be from Equifax, report it to the Federal Trade Commission.

3. If you suspect the worst or know that your identity has been compromised in the breach, visit identitytheft.gov for support reporting the crime and recovering your data.

How has the Equifax data breach affected you? Share your story with us. Email feedback@thepennyhoarder.com.

Lisa Rowan is a writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder.

They say time is money, and that rings especially true for anyone who has struggled to make ends meet.

Walmart has announced it will allow recipients of government benefits save some time when they shop for household essentials. People who receive food stamps will be able to use their EBT cards to pay for groceries online and pick them up.

The program will start in the Houston and Boise areas this fall, “and we’ll be bringing it to more and more markets through the holiday season and beyond,” a blog post from ecommerce vice president Mike Turner explained.

The store’s online grocery pickup option, which launched in fall 2015, allows customers to select grocery items and pay for them online with a credit or debit card, then pick up their order at the store and time of their choice. Walmart promised prices equal to the ones customer would find in stores.

Recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits will pay for their orders when they pick them up. “An associate will bring a payment terminal to the car,” Walmart spokesperson Molly Blakeman explained, and the customer will drive off with their groceries and a physical receipt.

Walmart Isn’t Just Being Nice. It’s Part of a Pilot Program

About 40,000 people receive SNAP benefits, commonly known as food stamps, each month. This form of government assistance isn’t tied to employment, but more than 75% of recipients worked within the year they received benefits, according to the USDA.

A grocery-pickup program like this may be valuable to those juggling a job (or two or three), and trying to get chores and errands done on top of that work schedule.

In January 2017, the United States Department of Agriculture launched an online purchasing pilot to allow grocery stores to accept SNAP benefits online. In February, Walmart joined the initial roster of stores accepting SNAP benefits online, which included Amazon, FreshDirect, Safeway, ShopRite and others.

Amazon sweetened its deal in June when it announced it would offer discounted Prime subscriptions to EBT cardholders, although government benefits cannot be used to pay for memberships, service fees, or delivery charges.

Blakeman noted that Walmart is excited to be a part of the USDA pilot program, which is expected to launch in 2018. “We wanted to make sure to open up the convenience of online grocery as soon as we could,” she said, saying Walmart plans to roll it out to a larger number of stores “relatively quickly.”

One in five customers at Walmart pays with food stamps.

Lisa Rowan is a writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder.

If you shop on Amazon a lot, you can assume the website knows a lot about you.

Your last 12 addresses. Your taste in books and movies. Its algorithms can probably guess your favorite color.

Isn’t it fun that a shopping website knows you so well?

Maybe it was... until yesterday, when a glitch in the matrix appeared.

People received emails saying a gift was in the mail. A pudgy baby crawled across the top of the message, which stated, “Hello Amazon Customer, Someone great recently purchased a gift from your baby registry!”

Confusion ensued. Recipients wondered if they had started a baby registry by accident. Some people clicked the link to see what would happen, only to find it was broken. Customers who are actually expecting were disappointed to find that someone had not actually purchased a gift from their registry. Some people thought it was a phishing attack.

Jimmy Marks of Richmond, Virginia, and his wife are expecting, so when he read the initial gift email on his phone, he wasn’t too surprised.

“We are registered on Amazon and we’ve been receiving presents from people with no notes or with no indication of where the gift came from, so I thought the message was something my wife signed up for so that each time we receive a gift, we can see who sent it and add them to our list for thank-you notes,” he explained.

When the link in the email went to an error page, Marks shrugged and went about his day.

“Amazon’s gift registry setup is not ideal, for what it’s worth,” he told us via Twitter. Those frequent senderless packages make it harder to send timely thank-you notes -- etiquette is still important, people.

Later the same day, Amazon sent apology emails to the affected customers. “Earlier today, we accidentally sent you an email from Amazon Baby Registry,” it read. “We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.”

An Amazon spokesperson verified the glitch with this emailed statement: “We have notified affected customers. A technical glitch caused us to inadvertently send a gift alert e-mail earlier today. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.”

If there’s one thing large companies are terrible at, it’s apologizing with any modicum of sincerity, am I right?

Amazon Doesn’t Care About You. Really.

Speculation in our modern town square, aka Twitter, might indicate that Amazon was trying to drop a few hints, mother-in-law style

Some people surmised that because they’d bought baby-related items in the past, they landed on the glitch list. Others called Amazon insensitive for sending a baby-centric email to those who have suffered miscarriages or struggle with infertility.

But I’m here to tell you this: Amazon prides itself on being a technology company just as much as it is an e-commerce store. And technology isn’t perfect. Amazon still has a hard time figuring out which box is the right size for shipping my order.

You’re not a person to Amazon. You’re a customer number with a purchase history who probably hollers at Alexa too much. I know this. You know this.

But Amazon, like so many other technology-focused companies, offers convenience. And so we let our guards down.

Every time we sign up for a loyalty program, we know the coupons we’ll get are tailored to our past purchases. Every time we shop through a rebate site or app, we know our consumer data is sold to some mathematical equation in the sky.

One academic study found an “overwhelming majority” of students would give up three of their friends’ email addresses in exchange for free pizza.

When offered the chance to set up encryption to protect those friends’ email addresses, students started the process, but gave up before completing it. Laziness is a factor, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research senior fellow Susan Athey noted.

But consumers have also resigned themselves to an online existence where their choices about privacy don’t really matter.

“Generally, people don’t seem to be willing to take expensive actions or even very small actions to preserve their privacy,” Athey said in a release about the paper she cowrote on the topic. “Even though, if you ask them, they express frustration, unhappiness or dislike of losing their privacy, they tend not to make choices that correspond to those preferences.”

We let our guards down a long time ago. When a mistake like this happens, you sort of have to chalk it up to the reality of our online existence.

Lisa Rowan is a writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder who often ponders the possibility of a quieter life in an isolated cabin in the woods.

Consumers were surprised when Equifax announced a large-scale hack to the public in September, despite having learned of the breach way back on July 29. The hack exposed a security gap that led to the theft of 143 million consumers’ financial information. Investigators later learned the hackers accessed data as far back as mid-May.

Now, new details have emerged that show Equifax was hacked in an unrelated attack back in March.

A spokesperson from Equifax said of the first breach in a statement: “Earlier this year, during the 2016 tax season, Equifax experienced a security incident involving a payroll-related service. The incident was reported to customers, affected individuals and regulators. This incident was also covered in the media. The March event reported by Bloomberg is not related to the criminal hacking that was discovered on July 29.”

The spokesperson said that Mandiant hasn’t found any evidence connecting the two breaches. The earlier breach affected payroll product TALX, an Equifax subsidiary, and was primarily reported on by security writers Brian Krebs and Graham Cluley based on notifications obtained from affected customers.

Bloomberg reported that the initial breach in March 2017 led the credit bureau to hire a security firm to investigate. That initial investigation by security firm Mandiant concluded in May, according to Bloomberg.

The second breach exposed birthdates, Social Security numbers and credit card numbers. It affected around 40% of American consumers and took place between May and July 2017.

Mandiant also investigated the second breach, which Equifax announced Sept. 7.

“Equifax’s internal investigation of this incident is still ongoing and the company continues to work closely with the FBI in its investigation,” an update on Equifax’s security site says of the more recent hack.

Well, Now the Government’s Looking at the Equifax Hack

On Sept. 15, Equifax announced that its chief information officer and chief security officer were retiring.

Bloomberg notes that the stock sale by three Equifax executives in early August may be examined further as new details about the beach’s timeline emerge. The sold shares were worth more than $1.8 million combined. Another similar transaction took place in May, according to Bloomberg. The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating those transactions for insider trading conflicts.

We All Have Trust Issues, Right?

Whether you were impacted by this summer’s Equifax hack or not -- we show you how to find out if you were affected -- it can feel like each new day brings a new challenge for U.S. financial institutions. Start adding them up, and a culture of distrust can develop. Earlier this year, Equifax was forced to pay $3.8 million for various violations, including serving customers ads while they viewed their free annual credit reports.

The latest security breach and rumors of insider trading don’t help the Equifax brand one bit, especially after consumers have complained about how difficult it is to get breach-related assistance.

“What makes the situation especially awful is that you never had much choice about entering into a relationship with Equifax,” Pat Regainer and Suzanne Woodley wrote in Bloomberg Businessweek.

You choose a bank, a mortgage company and a credit card brand, but you never choose to be listed in the three credit bureaus, they explain. You can either live off the financial grid or be a part of this mess. There is no middle ground.

Add in millennial skepticism — they don’t trust much of anyone in the financial world — and you have a more complicated reputation quandary than anyone may have predicted.

Lisa Rowan is a writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder.

You think you have your grocery store figured out.

You shop the perimeter to focus on fresh food instead of getting swayed by the packaged stuff. You go early in the morning or late at night to avoid crowds. You even figured out precisely when the store restocks after the busy weekend and which of the baggers will never, ever crush the eggs.

But do you really know your grocery store? Within those thousands of square feet of perfectly perched merchandise, can you tell which elements are there to help you — and which ones are there to trip you up?

Stores use these eight tactics to get you to spend more at the supermarket without you even noticing.

1. They Entice You to Head Right

The entrance is typically on the right for a reason: to encourage shoppers to move counterclockwise through the store. Since most people are right-handed, it’s easier to steer with your left hand and grab with your right, branding expert Martin Lindstrom explains in his book “Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy.” And when you go counterclockwise, you spend $2 more per trip on average, according to consumer data.

Hang a left next time you hit the store to save on groceries.

2. They Place Unrelated Products Together

If you’ve ever found tortillas and salsa in the same aisle, you’re being played by an adjacency. Same goes for if you find plastic sandwich bags displayed in the bread aisle instead of in the paper/plastic aisle or a display of charcoal briquettes next to the frozen burger patties instead of in the seasonal section.

By placing several unrelated products together, grocery stores in fact target a specific customer: the one who is tired of circling the store trying to find what they need.

“Adjacencies are also about order — coming up with a sensible sequence of things,” Paco Underhill writes in “Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping.”

But while those grouped items are convenient, they aren’t necessarily cheaper than the variety you might find in other parts of the store.

3. Carts Keep Getting Bigger

[caption id="attachment_72294" align="alignnone" width="1200"] Liam Bedingfield, 4, and Lofta Bedingfield, 7, push carts around inside Safeway in Largo, Fla . Tina Russell / The Penny Hoarder[/caption]

Between 1975 and 2000, grocery carts tripled in size. There are several conflicting theories about why, including Ralph Nader’s conclusion that grocery stores were shaming us into buying more every time we visited.

The cause of this growth is hard to pin down -- almost as much as whether it really affects shoppers. Just remember that choosing to push a cart around doesn’t mean you have to fill it to the brim every time you shop.

4. X Marks the… Hey, Wait a Minute

Can’t find that item that’s always on your list? Some stores change the location of items as often as once a month. It might be a matter of moving a brand of cereal 5 feet down the aisle or putting something in a completely different area of the store.

“The result is that not only are we tempted by more products,” Lindstrom writes in “Brandwashed,” “but finding what we want becomes a game of sorts, at the end of which we often reward ourselves for our hard work by buying something that wasn’t on our list.”

5. Angles: Not Just Important for Selfies

Endcaps and in-your-way displays do double duty to wear you down while you’re shopping.

Endcaps are often reserved for promoted products that, even when on sale, may still be more expensive than the house brand. Or they may simply appeal to your senses and distract you from your list.

“An endcap can boost an item’s sales simply because as we stroll through a store’s aisles we approach them head-on, seeing them plainly and fully,” Underhill writes in “Why We Buy.”

Ever had to wiggle around free-standing displays on either side of an aisle? The store probably stacked those featured products in the display and placed them at an angle to grab your attention — or grab a corner of your cart. Remember, just because something is on an endcap or a special display doesn’t mean it’s the best price.

6. The Smells Are Free

Grocery stores have recently revived their focus on freshness, but it isn’t just about getting you in the door. It’s about appealing to your senses once you get there, too.

“It’s true that with the exception of the produce aisles, supermarkets have no tradition of feeding our desire for sensory stimulation, for scent or taste or touch or even sight,” Underhill explains. “They’re still stuck in the early ‘60s, the time of frozen food, canned food, processed food, powdered food, packaged food and the germless ideal of blinding white cleanliness.”

But you can probably point out where your local store has added elements of “sensual shopping” in recent years. Maybe it’s more varieties of bread made in the bakery or the coffee aisle where you can fill a bag with aromatic specialty beans. An expanded florals section?

Yep, it’s all as strategic as it is convenient.

7. They Turn up the Muzak

[caption id="attachment_72290" align="alignnone" width="1200"] Samuel George and his grandchildren Jonathan George, 3, and Alayah George, 1, shop at Sam's Club in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Wednesday August 16, 2017. Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder[/caption]

Ever found yourself crooning along with the smooth oldies playing while you shop?

Douglas Rushkoff writes in his book “Coercion: Why We Listen to What ‘They’ Say” that shoppers make 38% more purchases when a grocery store plays Muzak with a slower tempo.

Marketing professor Ronald Milliman studied shopping habits at a Dallas grocery store for two months to determine the effects of various tempos of music. Most shoppers couldn’t recall whether they heard music in the store, but when slow music played, the store made about $4,000 more that day.

“People simply, as you slowed them down, saw more they remembered they needed… or wanted,” Milliman told Freakonomics Radio.

Get caught up in the music, and your grocery budget could get caught up, too.

8. Coupons: A Gateway to Spending

Ever glanced at a manufacturer’s coupon for a new product and wondered if you’ll like it? “It’s 25% off,” you might think. “I’ll give it a try, just this once.”

“Based on marketers’ data, consumers who try a new product are likely to stick with it for an average of a year and a half,” Lindstrom writes. “So if a store can figure out what new product you might like and offer a free sample or coupon or promotion persuading you to try it, it’s potentially locked up your dollars for the next 18 months.”

The next time you think about ripping a coupon from a blinkie machine, take a second look at the product’s price tag.

Meanwhile, fewer than 3% of manufacturer’s coupons ever get redeemed, according to Underhill. Think twice, clip once?

Lisa Rowan is a writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder.

Millennials are killing a lot of things, or so we hear. Is the traditional method of saving for retirement by investing next on their list?

LendEDU surveyed 500 millennials who said they are saving for retirement and found that 41% are skipping the stock market and saving for retirement using regular old savings accounts. “We estimate that avoiding the stock market will cause millennials to miss out on over $3.46 million by retirement at age 65,” Mike Brown of LendEDU wrote.

LendEDU used data from the Bureau of Labor and our generally accepted rules of personal finance to hypothesize about what could happen to the retirement savings of someone who begins saving in their late 20s. LendEDU imagined someone with a starting salary of $40,352 who saves 20% of their salary, so this experiment starts out pretty optimistically.

Under a probability simulation, someone who started saving in 2016 under the above-mentioned circumstances and literally stashed their cash under the mattress would have about $681,000 saved by 2054, LendEDU found. Put that same retirement savings in a traditional savings account, and that person could expect to have about $1.5 million over time.

But someone who put their retirement savings in an investment portfolio could have accumulated about $5 million by 2054. Granted, that’s based on LendEDU’s ridiculously lofty estimate assumes you’ll see consistent growth of 11% per year for that account. Meanwhile, Bankrate’s 401(k) calculator says that expecting a return rate of 6 or 7% is much more reasonable.

Based on an analysis LendEDU ran 10,000 times, you have a 98% chance of at least doubling your savings through investing in the market, Brown explained.

LendEDU asked 500 millennials ages 25 to 34 why they made their choices to either invest their retirement savings in the stock market or to avoid it. More than half of respondents said the financial crisis of the last decade kept them from investing in the stock market. Almost 60% said they were afraid of the stock market.

Are Millennial Investing Fears Really Irrational?

LendEDU calls these millennial investing fears irrational, noting the stock market “has historically bounced back and as long as you demonstrate patience, you will be rewarded many times over.”

But a millennial might argue that it’s not just the stock market standing in the way of traditional investment methods. Millennials are skeptical of putting their trust in financial institutions that they believe have wronged them or their families in the past.

And it’s not just Wells Fargo facing the ire of millennials: This generation voted all our leading banks “among their least loved brands” in the Millennial Disruption Index last year, TechCrunch noted. According to that index, 71% of millennials would rather go to the dentist than listen to what a bank has to say.

What do millennial feelings about banks have to do with millennial feelings about the stock market? Everything.

“At least part of this dissatisfaction [with banks] stems from the perception that banks are nickel-and-diming millennials as customers,” Lisa Servon wrote in “The Unbanking of America.” “Those I interviewed complained about the high cost of using out-of-network ATMs and other fees they found frustrating and often inexplicable. Millennials don’t think banks should be charging them when the banks are holding on to their money,” she wrote.

If millennials don’t trust mainstream banks to meet their financial needs, how can they trust investment banks, brokerages and other wealth management firms? Servon even pointed out in “The Unbanking of America” that of millennials, “nearly one in four trusts ‘no one’ when it comes to advice about money.”

Still, many millennials embrace investing opportunities, whether they be passive long-term investing with index funds or tinkering with employer-sponsored 401(k) account settings to generate the largest return.

Compound interest on a savings account can help a nest egg grow, but investing that nest egg is what can really help modest contributions skyrocket over time into a comfortable retirement fund.

Jason Kirsch, a certified financial planner and president of Grow, says “irrational” is the wrong word to describe millennial views of investing and the stock market. His book, “The Millennial Advantage: How Millennials Can (And Must) Be the Next Great Generation of Investors,” describes the similarities between the personalities of children of the Great Depression and millennials who grew up during the Great Recession. Combine their distrust of financial institutions with a lack of understanding of investing and risk, and you get one big bundle of skepticism.

“The financial industry makes no attempt — even worse, a negative attempt — to try to simplify this process” of growing your money through the risks of investing, Kirsch says.

He advised millennials to get comfortable with some financial risk. “They have to assume some short-term risk for the long-term life of their money,” Kirsch says of millennial savers. “The real risk is not making those investments. That’s a long-term risk, where you’re sitting on the sideline while inflation eats away at your nest egg.”

If you’re holding cash earmarked for retirement in savings, Kirsch says not to throw it all in an investment account right away. Whether you choose passive or active investing, contribute to your investment account on a periodic schedule to gradually build the value of that account and weather short-term market fluctuations.

Lisa Rowan is a writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder.

If eating more cheese is always at the top of your to-do list, get ready to visit your local Moe’s Southwest Grill on Thursday, Sept. 21.

For the eighth year, the Tex-Mex chain will celebrate Free Queso Day.

To join in the gooey, tasty fun, visit your local Moe’s and ask for a cup of Moe’s Famous Queso and chips -- no purchase necessary!

Every Moe’s order comes with free chips and salsa, but queso is a special treat. On a regular day, 6 ounces of queso costs $3.73 at a Moe’s near The Penny Hoarder HQ in Florida.

Want More Free Moe’s Queso? Enter to Win by Sept. 17

But don’t stop there! Check out Moe’s Facebook page and click “Enter to Win” on the pinned post at the top of the page to enter your details for a chance to win free queso for life. Another way to win free Moe’s queso for life is to download Moe’s Rockin’ Rewards App, make a purchase at Moe’s between now and Sept. 17, and check in on the app by scanning in your receipt. The winner will be announced on Sept. 21.

Moe’s will also open a Queso Hotline, a safe haven for queso fans to share their deepest, darkest cheese-related confessions, on Sept. 21. “We’ve got even more queso surprises for our fans on the line,” a press release notes.

That hotline number is 855-440-6337 for those of you who haven’t experienced a proper thrill since that one sleepover when you took the dare to stand on your friend’s front porch wrapped in a sleeping bag and holler “I’m a giant burrito, the kind you like to eat-o” into the midnight void.

...Anyway. That reward program app we mentioned? New sign-ups receive a free cup of Moe’s queso, and you get a free burrito every year on your birthday. Who says you can only celebrate queso one day a year? Not us, that’s for sure.

Lisa Rowan is a writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder.

After 40 years of serving customers throughout its home base of Germany and around Europe, grocer Lidl (pronounced “Leedel”) is coming to the United States.

The company opened more than 20 stores in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina in summer 2017 and plans to open 100 more stores within the next year. Ohio, Texas and Georgia are on the top of Lidl’s expansion list.

Lidl promises a blend of quality and efficiency to keep prices low. If you’ve ever shopped at Aldi, plucking produce from the boxes it arrived in or bagging your own groceries, you’ll probably feel comfortable at a Lidl store.

The savings alone may be worth checking out: One analysis of Lidl’s prices found that the store is about 14% cheaper than Kroger, 10% lower than Walmart Neighborhood Market; 5.7% lower than Walmart Supercenters; and about equal to Aldi on pricing. In another price check, Lidl was 3% cheaper than Aldi.

6 Ways to Save at Lidl

Here’s what you need to know before your first trip to Lidl.

[caption id="attachment_72184" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Workers make finishing touches on a new Lidl grocery store that was opening in Virginia Beach, Va., on June 14, 2017. Lidl has 20 stores opening in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. AP Photo/Steve Helber[/caption]

1. Every Store Has the Same Layout

Shoppers can do 80% of their typical weekly shopping in the first aisle of the store, according to Jessica Haggard, public relations specialist for Lidl. Beyond the bakery and produce sections at the front of the store, the first aisle contains coffee, tea, meat, cheese, eggs, milk and other dairy products. If you want to get in and out, you can probably stay within the first aisle. But you may want to stick around – more on that later.

Bonus: Lidl bread is baked throughout the day, and the location of the bakery makes it easy to pop in if you need a quick bite. Lidl’s French butter croissants cost 49 cents each and contain 24% butter. Butter!

2. Shop the Preferred Selection

Lidl is proud of its private-label products. “If you’re looking for ketchup, you won’t find 50 different brands. You’ll find two or three,” Haggard said.

Lidl tests its house brand to ensure consumers like it just as much as the national brand offered alongside it, she explained.

Eighty percent of what you find in Lidl U.S. stores is domestically supplied, although you will find some favorites from Europe, like specialty pastas, chocolates and cheeses.

Not sure where Lidl sourced a product from? Check for the flag icon on the package or in the weekly leaflet.

3. Skip Clipping Coupons

Lidl stores don’t accept manufacturer coupons, but there are a few ways to save beyond the store’s low prices.

Check the weekly leaflet, which is available in stores and online, for occasional coupons.

Download the Lidl app for iOS or Android, and join the store’s loyalty program for access to additional coupons.

Want even more? Sign up to receive coupons via email. Each week, you’ll receive one set of coupons that matches what you’ll find in the app. You’ll also get a second set of coupons exclusive to email subscribers.

4. Pay Attention to the Leaflet

Lidl rolls out deals twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays.

Some deals you’ll find in the weekly leaflet are only good for half the week, so you’ll have to bust a move to get to them in time. Check the top of each leaflet page to confirm the valid dates for each deal.

Haggard says that not every deal makes it into the leaflet, so keep your eyes peeled when you’re in the store.

5. Stop by the Surprises Section

European Lidl locations are known for their household goods, clothing and other nonfood goodies. That tradition is coming to the U.S., too.

The surprises section has a weekly set of themed items at promotional prices. These items are only in stores while supplies last, but you can get a sneak peak at the coming week’s surprises theme by checking the “Nonfood Weekly” leaflet online.

Popular surprise items during the U.S. grand opening have included a full-size kettle charcoal grill for $19.99 and a pressure washer for $99. You’ll also find kitchen gadgets, fitness clothing, power tools, diaper bags, fishing poles — you name it!

6. Don’t Love It? Take it Back!

Take advantage of Lidl’s “Love It Guarantee.” If you don’t like a private-label item you pick up at Lidl, bring it back for a refund and a replacement item.

Lisa Rowan is a writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder.

What does it cost to give your finances a checkup?

If you’re going through a major life change — a new career, a new relationship, maybe you’ve got a new baby on the way — you might feel compelled to seek financial advice. But even the most basic plans from certified financial planners can cost anywhere from a few hundred bucks to a few thousand.

If you want to be more money-savvy but aren’t necessarily ready to work with one of the pros, here are a few ways to organize your finances for success without spending a ton of cash.

1. Use a Personal Finance App or Budget Tool

If you’ve just started to think about your spending and saving habits, a budgeting app can help you get a bird’s-eye view of what you’re working with. Personal accounting systems — many of them are available in desktop and mobile forms — can analyze your spending habits and give you recommendations based on the budgeting goals you set.

Using a budgeting tool or tracking your spending habits by hand can help you think about your relationship with money and questions you may want to ask a professional.

2. Work With a Credit Counselor

If you feel like you’re drowning in debt, start by working with a credit counselor who’s certified by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

A credit counselor will meet with you by phone or in person to ask about your debt and other aspects of your financial situation. The counselor can help you evaluate potential steps to reduce your debt and prevent further debt.

Most certified credit counselors offer services at no cost or charge nominal fees.

3. Attend a Community Class

Check your local library, senior center or community center calendar for free or low-fee workshops covering a variety of personal finance topics. The Financial Clinic offers financial coaching via community partners in California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.

4. Seek Financial Counseling

Members of the Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education (AFCPE) can help you with money management and other financial basics. An accredited financial counselor can help you address your financial roadblocks and plan for the future but isn’t permitted to sell you any products.

Rates for counseling typically start at about $75 per hour, according to member counselors’ websites listed in the AFCPE directory. Counselors in your area may also lead workshops or classes for the public.

5. Attend a Financial Planning Day Event

Certified financial planners volunteer their time each autumn to lead workshops or host one-on-one sessions during Financial Planning Day events across the country. The planners who take part aren’t allowed to sell you anything — they’re not even allowed to hand you a business card. It’s 100% no-strings-attached financial advice.

You can find local events, register and find out how to prepare for an event on the Financial Planning Day website.

6. Pay a Certified Financial Planner for a la Carte Services

Looking for advice on a specific aspect of your finances? You may be able to work with a certified financial planner on an hourly or package rate. If you’re researching financial planners, ask about specialty or a la carte services.

“I always tell younger consumers that it’s never too early to start engaging with an adviser,” says Geof Brown, CEO at National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. “There’s someone out there who has services and a fee structure that will meet your needs.”

Lisa Rowan is a writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder.