3 Little-Known Perks of Buying CDs
By: Steven Porrello | Updated Oct. 17, 2023 – First published on Oct. 17, 2023
Certificates of deposit (CDs) can be a smart way to capture high interest rates. With some CD rates currently north of 5.50%, the headliner perk on today’s top-paying CDs is undoubtedly APY, APY, and APY. But don’t let high interest obscure some of the lesser-known benefits of buying CDs. Growing your money is important, but these three lesser-known perks could sweeten a CD contract.
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1. Some CDs allow a “bump-up” rate
Standard CDs offer a fixed rate for a specific period. For example, if you lock into a 5.50% APY, you’ll get 5.50% for the length of your term, whether that’s three months or five years.
Locking in at a high rate can be glorious if CD rates fall. But if you lock your CD rate too early, the opposite could happen: You could watch CD rates soar, while yours is still paying out at a lower APY.
This is where a “bump-up” CD can come in handy.
Bump-up CDs let you increase your rate at least one time during your term (some allow several bump-ups). This allows you to capture a higher APY after your term has started. Typically, bump-up CDs have lower initial rates than standard CDs. But they can prove useful in a fluctuating rate environment, especially if you think the CD provider will raise its rates.
2. You can access interest as you earn it
While many CDs lock up your initial deposit for the length of your term, some will let you access the interest you’re earning. Yes, even without penalty. Often, these CDs will even transfer the interest into a separate account, like a checking or savings account. Depending on your CD’s terms, the interest could be deposited monthly, quarterly, semiannually, or annually.
3. Brokered CDs can be sold on secondary markets
Brokered CDs are a little-known CD type. These CDs are available only through brokerage accounts, such as:
- Charles Schwab
- Edward Jones
The broker isn’t the CD issuer but rather buys CDs in bulk from providers, like banks, then sells them to its customers. Often, these CDs have ridiculously high APYs.
Because the broker isn’t the CD issuer, it usually doesn’t let you withdraw from your CD — not even with an early withdrawal penalty. Instead, you have to sell your CD on a secondary market if you want out early. This involves finding a buyer who will take the CD off your hands.
Selling a CD on the secondary market could result in a loss, especially if rates have increased since you purchased yours. But for savvy investors focused on the long term, today’s top-paying CDs could eventually result in a gain. CD rates won’t stay high forever. If you load up on long-term CDs, you could turn a profit when rates start to fall, not to mention earn high interest as you wait.
Of course, like investing in stocks and other assets, trading CDs has risks. But it’s a strategy that many fixed-income investors simply don’t know about.
All in all, CDs can offer investors more than just a high APY. Don’t get me wrong: Earning high interest on your savings is a major benefit. But dig a little deeper into your contract; you might find some perks that surprise you.
The 5 Best Kirkland Products to Buy at Costco
By: Steven Porrello | Updated Oct. 20, 2023 – First published on Oct. 8, 2023
Buying generic brands can save you money, but rarely can they surpass (or even replicate) the taste of the original. The exception is Costco’s Kirkland Signature products. Many of these products have amassed a cult following simply for being better in taste and lower in price than many nationally recognized brands.
It’s tough to pick which Kirkland products are the best, but if I had to narrow it down, here are five Kirkland products I’m buying regularly at Costco.
1. Shelled pistachios
Price: $14.99 to $16.99
I’ve always loved pistachios but could never betray my personal finances to pay exorbitant prices for such small bags. Costco, however, changed that. The Kirkland Signature Pistachios come in 24 ounce bags (1.5 pounds) and cost only $15 to $17. That’s cheaper than Kroger ($5.49 for six ounces), Safeway ($7.99 for six ounces), and Walmart ($9.98 for 12 ounces).
2. Lounge pants
Fall has just arrived in my home city, Portland, and we’re already breaking out the winter clothes. This year, I bought a pair of Kirkland Signature lounge pants and they’re super comfortable. Plus, you can’t beat that price. Costco is even running a promotion online that will save you $25 if you buy five to nine qualifying clothing items and $60 if you buy 10.
3. Kitchen bags
The Kirkland Signature Kitchen Bags are a staple in our household. They’re big, sturdy, and have flexible tops to wrap around trash and avoid punctures. These bags are strong enough to hold our garbage, plus cat litter when we clean the boxes.
4. Adult multivitamin gummies
Price: $16.99 for two
Not the most exciting Costco purchase you’ll ever make, but nevertheless a good value, this two-pack of multivitamins comes with 320 gummies for about $17. That’s cheaper than buying Vitafusion gummies off Amazon ($12.19 for 150 gummies) and even rivals the price on Walmart’s brand of adult gummies ($8.88 for 150).
5. Variety snack pack
This is one of the best buys I’ve seen in awhile. For about $33, this snack pack gives you 51 single-serving pouches with snacks you’ll actually like, like granola bars, trail mix, almonds, cashews, peanuts, and blueberries. Perfect for kids’ lunches or your own snacks during the day.
How to find good Kirkland products
Prepare yourself for some trial and error. Fortunately, even the worst Kirkland Signature products are still decent enough to consume (case in point: the notoriously ugly “Costco sweater” you can’t help but buy). Even better: Most are covered by Costco’s 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you don’t like it, you can bring it back for a full refund.
There is one little-known way to find popular Kirkland products. You’ll need to the download the Costco shopping app, then follow these steps:
- Open the Costco shopping app.
- Click “Shop” from the bottom menu.
- Scroll to the bottom and click “View more categories.”
- Click “Explore Our Brands” from the list of categories (in my app, the categories are in alphabetical order, so just look for the “E’s”).
- Find Kirkland Signature from the list.
- Click “Shop All Kirkland Signature.”
- Organize the products by “Most Viewed.”
This will bring up product pages that have received a large volume of traffic. When I did it recently, I saw the variety snack pack was number one, followed by toilet paper, batteries, and a stone island 12-burner gas grill (shrug). Take a look for yourself the next time you browse the Costco app and see what other Costco members are buying.
3 Perks of Buying Tires at Costco
By: Steven Porrello | Updated Oct. 11, 2023 – First published on Oct. 11, 2023
No, it’s not just you. Tire prices have gone up.
The average price of tires has risen 21.4% over the last two years, according to Michael Grabell from ProPublica. That would make a tire that cost $100 about $120 in today’s dollars, while a tire that cost $250 would now be $300.
To make matters worse, you can’t always plan for tire expenses. While a tire purchase could justify dipping into your emergency fund, if you don’t have one you might have to charge it to a credit card and risk carrying a balance.
Against this backdrop of inflation, Costco Tire might offer some relief. Its prices aren’t always the best out there, but when it’s offering promotions, you can save money and get great services. If you’re sick of tire expenses slowing down your personal finance goals, here are three perks to buying them at Costco.
1. Free installation
Costco recently eliminated its tire installation fees. Previously, it charged about $
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