MONEY deals

Summer Price Break! 6 Things That Are Actually Cheaper This Summer

Blessedly, bacon and cheese are on the list.

For the most part, consumers are accustomed to seeing prices for a wide range of goods go in only one direction: up, up, and up. Often, this is simply the result of inflation and regular price increases. There are also freak price spikes like the current situation with eggs, which have risen dramatically of late thanks to the bird flu outbreak. And more costly eggs have in turn begun causing price increases everywhere from diners to bakeries.

Thankfully, from time to time consumers get to benefit from the occasional price decrease on goods and services—including some of their favorite treats. Here are a half-dozen things you’ll actually pay less for this summer.

  • Bacon

    Plate of bacon
    Alamy

    While bacon prices aren’t cheap by historical standards, they are significantly cheaper than in the summer of 2014, when they spiked amid low supplies. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average price for a pound of bacon as of May 2015 was below $5, compared with $5.50 at the start of 2015 and more than $6 last summer. Overall, bacon prices fell 18% over a 12-month span.

  • Gas

    gas prices
    Elise Amendola—AP

    After surging steadily through much of the spring, gas prices have dipped of late, hitting a national average of $2.77 for a gallon of regular at the start of the week, according to AAA. Drivers in nearly all states are paying at least 75¢ less per gallon compared with a year ago, and AAA estimates that cheap gas prices in 2015 have helped Americans collectively save $65 billion on fuel costs thus far this year.

  • Last-Minute Hotels

    Luxury Hotels on the Las Vegas Strip
    John Kellerman—Alamy The Las Vegas Strip

    Overall, hotel rates in the U.S. are expected to be up 5% to 6% in 2015, and in some cases are up more than 10%. But in certain cities and under specific circumstances, prices can be much cheaper compared with this time last year. Data from the last-minute hotel booking specialist HotelTonight indicates that some Fourth of July weekend rates booked right now are bargains compared with the 2014 holiday. Average rates in Las Vegas are 39% cheaper versus last year, and July 4 hotel prices are also down in destinations such as the Berkshires (down 29%), Tampa (20%), and Williamsburg, Va. (12%).

  • Other Pork Products

    sausages on grill
    Slawomir Purgal—Alamy

    The same rise in the nation’s pork supply that’s caused bacon prices to retreat is lowering prices for pork chops, hot dogs, and the like. The American Farm Bureau Federation recently estimated that the cost of a typical July 4 cookout that feeds 10 people is 3% cheaper than it was a year ago. One of the reasons why this is so is that two of the main dishes—hot dogs and pork spare ribs—are 2% to 4% less expensive than they were in 2014.

  • Airfare

    plane flying over field
    iStock

    At the start of the year, researchers from the likes of Expedia predicted that flight prices would fall in 2015, if for no other reason than airlines would finally have to lower fares in the face of dramatically cheaper fuel prices. And while airfare prices depend on a range of factors—route, timing, demand, etc.—data from the flight search Hopper.com show that overall, domestic flights in the spring and early summer were 8.7% cheaper compared with the same time last year. The site also predicted that the trend will continue through the summer, with the average flight selling for $18 (or about 6%) less than in the summer of 2014.

  • Dairy Products

    Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers, Denver, Colorado
    Brennan Linsley—AP

    The USDA reports that national stockpiles of butter, cheese, and milk are all up significantly compared with a year ago, and prices for most dairy products—including yogurt, ice cream, and blocks of cheese—are down as a result. Bear in mind that some of the price decrease is based on how expensive dairy products were for much of last year. Butter consumption, for instance, has been increasing for years, and prices spiked to near record prices last summer through the fall.

TIME deals

How Apple Is Changing the International Data Roaming Game

apple-ipad-displayed
Dominic Lipinski—PA Wire/AP

Instantly connect to a local data network in more than 90 countries and territories

Data roaming was once one of the great pain points of traveling. Slowly, but surely, it is easing up—and perhaps going away all together. A short history, for the uninitiated: first, the EU proposed legislature to end roaming on the European continent by 2017 (a bill that was just approved today). Then T-Mobile made it free to roam in 120-plus countries (sluggish network speeds be damned). A third development was the perhaps quietest—Apple launched a technology called Apple SIM poised to instantly connect travelers with local data networks the second they touched ground in an international country. The only catch? They didn’t have any significant telecom partners available when the technology deployed, so the development flew largely under the radar.

Until today, that is. This morning, Apple and GigSky have announced a partnership that includes the ability to instantly connect to a local data network in more than 90 countries and territories upon touchdown—no need to visit a kiosk, talk to a service agent, or really, do anything at all. Instead, iPads with AppleSIM cards will automatically offer the option to sign up for a data plans as soon as a local network is in reach. (The GigSky network includes most of Western Europe, from France and Germany to the Netherlands; Australia; South Africa; parts of the Middle East; and beyond.)

Because travelers are accessing onto local networks, rather that roaming from their domestic carrier, prices are impressively affordable as long as you’re traveling on the beaten path. Entry-level data plans begin at just $10, covering anywhere between 10MB (in Papua New Guinea) to 75 MB (in Italy); in countries with better access, the premium plans top out at 3GB for $50. By comparison, AT&T’s best deal currently charges $30 for 120 MB or $120 for 800 MB. And unlike with most major telecom companies, travelers won’t need to worry about overage or monthly recurring charges—GigSky’s plans are inherently short-term.

For now, the technology is limited to iPad—AppleSIM has been coming pre-installed on iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 models with WiFi + Cellular capability (and have been since that model debuted last year). They’re also available at Apple stores for a mere $5 if one isn’t already in your device. Not sure whether you have one already? Simply pop out the SIM card and see if there’s an Apple logo on it.

Now there’s only one caveat that remains: at this point, Apple could confirm no plans to bring the technology to iPhone. But perhaps a year from now, we’ll have another surprise to report on that front.

This article originally appeared on Travel + Leisure

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TIME M&A

Willis Group to Merge With Towers Watson

Iconic Sears Tower Changes Name To Willis Tower
Scott Olson—Getty Images The Willis Tower sign.

Combined company will be worth $18 billion

Willis Group Holdings, an insurance broker and risk advisory firm, and professional services group Towers Watson, announced Tuesday they plan to merge.

The combined company, Willis Towers Watson, will be worth $18 billion, taking in about $8.2 billion in revenue, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Ireland-based company is expected to achieve over $100 million in cost-savings on account of the merger. The Towers Watson Chairman and CEO, John Haley, will remain CEO, and Willis Group Holdings CEO Dominic Casserley will be president and deputy CEO.

“These are two companies with world-class brands and shared values. The rationale for the merger is powerful – at one stroke, the combination fast-tracks each company’s growth strategy and offers a truly compelling value proposition to our clients,” said Casserley in a press release.

“We will advise over 80% of the world’s top-1000 companies, as well as having a significant presence with mid-market and smaller employers around the world,” he added.

MONEY deals

This Week’s Best Deals: Free ‘Minions’ Tickets, Amazing July 4 Sales

150629_EM_Deals_Minions
Illumination Entertainment/Unive Minions

Fourth of July sales have already started.

There’s no need to wait until the holiday weekend to take advantage of July 4 sales—because many retailers have launched discounts early. Get a deal on a TV that’s worthy of Black Friday, or score $50 off select purchases at Allen Edmunds.

Here are the best bargains this week:

4th of July Sales
Like any other holiday weekend, Independence Day will bring with it a slew of sales, many of which have already started. Calvin Klein Outlet so far offers the best discounts, slashing 60% off sitewide when you add an item to the shopping cart. Plus, coupon code “CKTEN” takes an extra 10% off on top of that. Combined, that’s the best discount we’ve seen from CK Outlet this year.

Meanwhile, some retail heavyweights have already started unveiling their 4th of July discounts, including Amazon, Best Buy, Sears, and Walmart. To find out what the full range of sales will offer this week, click here.

Free Minions Tickets
Take a look around the house; are you in need of any toiletries, paper products, or other such goods? Excellent! If you spend just $30 on P&G products — which includes brands such as Charmin, Tide, Bounty, Gillette, and Pantene— you are eligible to receive two free tickets to see Minions. Be sure to click here to see what stores are participating (many large-chain stores are not), and to obtain an online or mail-in submission form to receive a redemption code, which is valid until August 31. This deal will score one adult ticket and one child’s ticket, worth up to $13 and $8, respectively.

A Black Friday-Caliber TV Deal
Typically, we advise that TV shoppers wait until the fall to buy a new set, but shoppers would be foolish to overlook this amazing offer. P.C. Richard & Son currently knocks the price of this Haier 50″ 1080p TV to just $299.97 with free shipping, which is $100 off and one of the cheapest 50″ TVs we’ve ever seen. It doesn’t include “smart” capabilities, but with those savings you can easily pick up a cheap streaming player like a Roku or Apple TV.

Buy New Kicks And Save $50
American Express cardholders who spend $200 or more at Allen Edmunds will receive a $50 statement credit, which is like getting $50 off your purchase. (After logging in, applicable cardholders can activate this deal under “My Offers” at the bottom of the page.) That’s the year’s best such offer from Allen Edmunds, which sells high-quality dress shoes for men. Deal ends September 20, so there’s quite a lot of time to grab this offer.

Amazing bargains pop up at any given moment, so consider signing up for a daily email digest from DealNews to have the best offers sent directly to your inbox.

MONEY deals

How to Book an Entire Private Jet Charter Flight for Just $4

JetSuite
Jessica Ambats—Copyright: Jessica Ambats JetSuite

Travel like a CEO on a minimum-wage budget.

For the second year in a row, JetSuite, a private jet charter company that’s been called the “Southwest Airlines of charter flying,” is running a special promotion offering last-minute flights for just $4. That’s for the entire jet that’ll accommodate four to six people, mind you, so at most each person in your party will have to pony up $1.

For that princely sum, you’ll get the full private jet experience—small planes, no lines getting on and off the plane, big plush leather seats with fold-out desks and free wi-fi.

Of course, there’s a catch. The details of the promotion, as spelled out by the Robb Report and the New York Times, specify that the $4 charters will only be available for takeoff on a single day—Saturday, July 4—and that the exact routes will not be posted until the day before, Friday, July 3.

Snagging one of these bargain private flights won’t be easy: You’ll have to be lucky, in that one of the mystery itineraries must work for your location, and your timing must be perfect in order to beat the masses of other travelers who are surely eager to scoop up the same deal. At most, a few dozen travelers will be able to take advantage of one of these July 4 steals. Bear in mind too that these are one-way flights, and you’re on your own figuring out a way to get back home.

JetSuite will list its $4 routes on July 3 at its website. Travelers also have the option of signing up for a destination “WishList” to be notified via text or email if JetSuite deals are ever offered for your preferred airports.

JetSuite, which was created and is run by former JetBlue executives, and has attracted big investments from the likes of Zappos founder Tony Hsieh, has a business model that sells discounted flights on otherwise empty private planes that are en route to more standard charter bookings. Normally, JetSuite’s daily “SuiteDeals” start at $536 for short-haul routes such as Fort Lauderdale to Fort Myers in Florida, or Hyannis, Mass., to White Plains, N.Y.

That’s for the entire plane, and that’s dirt cheap for a private jet booking. But still, it’s not anywhere near as cheap as $4.

MONEY deals

Amazon’s New ‘Treasure Truck’ Will Sell One Discounted Item Daily

150625_EM_AmazonTreasureTruck
Darren Hendrix Amazon Treasure Truck

The goods will run the gamut of merchandise sold by Amazon.

If residents of the greater Seattle area spot a giant brown Amazon package on wheels in the coming days, it’s not a hallucination. (Well, it’s probably not a hallucination.)

The world’s biggest e-retailer is introducing something called the Treasure Truck. It’s a basically a standard delivery truck tricked out to look like a typical Amazon package—oversized Amazon logo and icons, brown cardboard box appearance, thick black line encircling the whole thing.

Starting this weekend, the truck will set up shop somewhere in Seattle—that’s the only location, for now at least—and offer a single item for sale. The goods will run the gamut of merchandise sold by Amazon.

“Each day the truck drives around Seattle parking in neighborhoods filled with but one highly desirable item exclusively for you,” the ad posted by Amazon on YouTube explains. Among the first items for sale at deeply discounted prices are paddleboards, professional knife sets, and porterhouse steaks.

Amazon doesn’t seem to expect all that many customers to walk up to the truck and impulsively buy inflatable paddleboards or steaks like they might pick up a fish taco or a Sno-Cone. Instead, the idea is that people will use Amazon’s mobile shopping app to scope out where the truck is and what’s for sale that day, and then purchase and pick it up later.

Why this process is any easier than using one’s Amazon Prime membership and having the item delivered to your home is something of a mystery. Presumably, you’d be able to get the goods sooner—you know, in case the immediate emergency need of a paddleboard arises.

From the consumer point of view, the main draw is that the prices are supposedly phenomenal. The item on sale on Saturday, the Solstice Bali inflatable paddleboard set, is priced at $99 on the Treasure Truck, nearly 80% lower than the retail price of $477. Another item coming soon, the Firmstrong Beach Cruiser bicycle, will be priced at $99 too. Amazon says the list price of this item is $299, but it looks like the bike is sold fairly regularly for around $200. Even if Amazon is exaggerating how big the discounts are, it sure looks like the deals are pretty terrific.

On the other hand, the selection and availability leaves something to be desired—just one item for sale daily, in just one city.

 

MONEY deals

This Week’s Best Deals: Cheapest iPad mini Price Ever

iPad Mini
iStock

Two-for-one LEGOLAND tickets and a free Amazon gift card offer too.

Here are the best bargains we’ve found this week:

Half-Price LEGOLAND Tickets
If you live near a LEGOLAND (either in Florida or California) or a LEGOLAND Discovery Center, you can treat your kids to some fun out of the house this summer, while saving some cash. Through September 30, buy one ticket and get a second ticket for free via the coupon code “159915.” The savings can amount to as much as $108. This is the first time we’ve seen a freebie from LEGOLAND admission that didn’t require some sort of prior purchase.

Free Money for Amazon Moms
It’s no secret that babies are expensive, so it’s important to take advantage of discounts and promotions wherever they spring up. Currently, Amazon Mom subscribers can snag a free $15 Amazon Gift Card with select Pampers purchases. Plus, several of the packs include a “clippable coupon” for $1.50 off, which drops even the price itself to about $2 lower than what most stores charge. Combined, you’ll be coming out about $17 ahead, which we suggest putting towards a spa day, or something else that’s indulgent.

Lowest iPad mini Price Ever
Reports have shown that about half of U.S. households now already contain at least one tablet, and many people are now looking to add a secondary slate to the mix. If you’re hoping to inexpensively boost your family’s device count, a good option is the first-generation Apple iPad mini. It’s now at its lowest price ever of $179.99, and, since it’s slightly older, you probably won’t mind as much if the kids grub it up with their sticky fingers. Keep in mind, too, that tablet promos in general have been scarce this year, so it’s a deal that’s extra special.

A Freebie That Anyone Can Enjoy
There’s always someone in your life — a parent, best friend, grandparent, etc. — who wishes they had more pictures of you and your family. That means that nearly anyone can find a use for this Shutterfly promo, which offers a customized wall calendar for free via coupon code “SUMMERPLANS.” You’ll still have to fork up $6.99 for shipping, but that’s $25 off and the lowest total price we’ve seen this year. Hurry though! This deal ends on Tuesday, June 23.

Amazing bargains pop up at any given moment, so consider signing up for a daily email digest from DealNews to have the best offers sent directly to your inbox.

MONEY freebies

These are the Best Father’s Day Freebies & Deals

UFC Gym in Chicago, Illinois
Josh Hedges—Zuffa LLC via Getty Images UFC Gym in Chicago, Illinois

Thank dad and demonstrate your great money sense at the same time.

For Father’s Day 2015, families can take advantage of promotions and giveaways at restaurants, museums, zoos, theme parks, and more—even a free workout in a mixed martial arts-themed gym.

Food

Father’s Day doesn’t have quite as many freebies as Mother’s Day, but there are still a bunch. Here are the five best giveaway promotions:

Beef O’Brady’s: Dads eat free (up to $10 value) at participating locations on Father’s Day, with the purchase of another meal of equal or greater value.

Brickhouse Tavern and Tap: From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., dads get a free brunch entree with the purchase of another entrée.

Hurricane Grill & Wings: Free entrée for dad with the purchase of another entrée in the party.

Medieval Times: Any day through Father’s Day, dad’s ticket to the dinner show is free with the purchase of a full-price adult ticket.

Spaghetti Warehouse: All dads are entitled to a free order of 15-layer lasagna or spaghetti and meatballs on Father’s Day.

Zoos & Museums

Zoos in Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, Columbus, Kansas City, Louisville, and Milwaukee are among the many offering dads (and usually, granddads) free admission on Sunday, typically with the requirement of at least one paid admission. Many museums, like the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, Seattle’s Museum of Flight, and the transportation museums in Buffalo and St. Louis, have the same deal.

Theme Parks & Attractions

Dads get free admission to Jungle Island in Miami, the Florida Aquarium in Tampa, Silverwood Theme Park in Idaho all weekend (Saturday and Sunday) with the purchase of another admission. Other theme parks, like Wild Waves in Washington, offer two-for-one tickets for dads and their kids on Father’s Day. The Georgia Aquarium is yet another attraction with free admission for dads on Father’s Day, with the purchase of one other admission.

Workouts

Depending on the dad in question, this freebie could a blessing or torture: UFC Gyms around the country are offering free fitness camp instructional workouts to dads and up to three guests (minimum age: 12) on Father’s Day. Space is limited, and UFC is encouraging families to sign up asap.

MONEY

How to Get Free Smoothies And Flip-Flops This Weekend

flip flops on beach
Oleksiy Maksymenko—Alamy

Free drinks and free flip-flops are on the table.

Our ongoing coverage of freebies—free donuts, free gym access, free Slurpees, free pretzels, and so on—continues this week with three giveaways that are great for chilling out this weekend. Take advantage of two cold drink freebies on Friday, and a flip-flop giveaway on Saturday, all with no purchase necessary.

Cumberland Farms
At participating locations of this convenience store chain, Friday, June 19, is being ushered in as the sixth annual Free Chill Zone Day. All customers can swing by and pick up a Chill Zone beverage—any frozen or fountain flavor you want—free of charge.

Tropical Smoothie Café
The other faux holiday being celebrated on Friday is National Flip-Flop Day, which concerns actual flip-flops rather than politicians who can’t seem to make up their minds. The Tropical Smoothie chain has made a traditional of hosting a giveaway and fundraiser on National Flip-Flop Day. From 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., all customers wearing flip-flops are welcomed to a complimentary 24 oz. Jetty Punch (strawberry-banana) smoothie. In addition, Tropical Smoothie CEO Mike Rotondo will be giving out free smoothies in Manhattan as he walks the length of the island as part of a fundraiser aiming to donate $1 million for Camp Sunshine, a vacation spot in Maine for terminally ill kids and their families.

Old Navy
Following up on a flip-flop giveaway earlier this month, Old Navy is hosting its annual flip-flop sale on Saturday, June 20. Stores open as early as 7 a.m., and the first 50 customers at each participating location will get a pair of flip-flops free. After that, flip-flops are priced starting at just $1. Bear in mind that even when there isn’t a sale Old Navy flops can be had for as little as $2.50.

MONEY Whole Foods

Whole Foods Says This Is the Best Day for Discounts

whole-foods
John Nordell/Getty Images

It's the one day where sales from the current week and the previous week overlap.

Planning to make a Whole Foods run anytime soon? Schedule that shopping for the middle of the week and you might save some money.

A Whole Foods rep tells Business Insider that Wednesday is the one day where the sales from the current week and the previous week overlap, leaving consumers with a larger number of discounts.

The Austin-based company has lately made it clear it want to compete for more price-sensitive customers. It’s launching a new chain called 365, with an emphasis on lower prices for small range of foods.

The Whole Foods rep was also quick to mention bargain-happy customers can save in other ways, like subscribing to email alerts or cutting coupons, but people who really want to save are likely doing that already. For the rest of us: Wednesday. Just remember Wednesday.

(Or shop at a cheaper supermarket.)

Read next: 12 Ways to Slash Your Grocery Bill by Cutting Out Food Waste

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