Save Nearly 50% on the Most Revolutionary Product in Years

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I usually try to stay away from clickbait titles. They always seem disappointing. However, I don't know how you can be disappointed with this.

Yesterday, Amazon announced that it is releasing the 2nd Generation Echo Dot. The big news is that the price went from $90 to a penny shy of $50. And if you buy 5, you'll get one free. (Hat tip to sister site Alexa/Echo.

That explains the 50% off part... but what about the "revolutionary" part.

Let me start by explaining what the Amazon Echo is... and then I'll explain why the Echo Dot is better.

Amazon has a digital personal assistant like Apple's Siri or Microsoft's Cortana. Amazon calls her Alexa. That's not very unique, but digital personal assistants are arguably revolutionary. Amazon Echo is a microphone/speaker that is sitting and waiting for you to activate it by simply saying, "Alexa." The difference is that you don't have to find a phone, navigate an app, press a button, or anything. I can continue typing this sentence while I ask Alexa to play music Jack Johnson. It works from across the room (unless there's a television on, or other significant outside noise).

The Echo is probably best at playing music, but it is also very good at home automation stuff. I can control my Nest thermostat upstairs while I'm downstairs, without a computer, tablet, or phone. You can order a pizza from Domino's with it. You can have Uber send you a car. You can play Choose Your Own Adventure games. I even use Amazon Echo to teach my kids spelling and math.

The Echo is so popular that it's become Amazon's next billion dollar business. And as I hinted at above, I even started contact me.)

I feel that's enough about Amazon Echo, but you want to know more you can read my original Amazon Echo review and my revisited Amazon Echo review.

Now, to tie all this together, I have to explain what an Echo Dot is and why that's even better than an Amazon Echo. An Echo Dot is a very small Amazon Echo... about the size of a hockey puck, but thicker. It has a very small speaker that isn't great, but it has Bluetooth and an audio out port. This makes it ideal for hooking up to a set of speakers or your stereo. This way you aren't tied to the Echo's speaker (though I think it's great, some audiophiles may disagree).

Perhaps the best part is the price. An Amazon Echo will set you back $180, and it very rarely goes on sale. The Echo Dot is less than $50. So you can pair with speakers you already have. I paid the original $90 price for the Echo Dot and paired them with a deal I found on these bookshelf speakers. However, I could have paired it with my Oontz Angle Bluetooth Speaker. If you bought those two, it would be less than $80... less than half price of the regular Echo.

So why did Amazon drop the price nearly in half just five months after releasing it? My guess is that it is afraid of Google Home, which Google's upcoming version of the Echo. Apple is rumored to be getting into the game as well. I think Amazon's plan is to get Alexa everywhere first.

Imagine if Amazon invented $50 tablets before anyone else had released a tablet. Would people pay $400 or $500 for an Samsung Galaxy Tab or an Apple iPad? Maybe, but it might also be difficult to market it at that price.

I think it's a great plan. I'm honestly considering getting the 6-pack, adding a couple more to the house, giving them as Christmas gifts, or using them as giveaways on the site. I'm tempted to go full-out Oprah: "You get an Echo Dot. You get an Echo Dot."

What do you think? I realize that I'm more enthusiastic than most people about Amazon's Alexa products (hence the other blog). Do "normal" people find this as amazing a deal as I do? Let me know in the comments.

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Posted on September 15, 2016.

Best Use of Less Than $100? (and Bonus Deals!)

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I was reading the awesome email newsletter this week and Jim ended it with a great question:

What do you consider your most valuable under-$100 purchase of all time? The thing that has had the most impact in your life?

I cheated by naming two "most valuables." For some reason, whenever Jim asks me for one thing, I come up with two. It only happens with his questions though. Here they are:

1. Dinner and drinks on the first date with my future wife. (Is it appropriate to give a shout out to my wife as we celebrated 9 years of marriage yesterday?)
2. The LazyManAndMoney.com domain name and hosting.

It's a tremendous drop off to #3. I couldn't even think of anything. Maybe rounding up my kids' favorite toys and how they all helped them sleep, avoid meltdowns, learn the alphabet and all that stuff.

What's your answer? Let me know in the comments... and onto the deals!

Deal Time!

For the next few days (at least until after Amazon Prime Day on July 12th) this blog is going to sound like it is sponsored by Amazon. And in a way it is since I'll make a small commission if you buy any of the stuff I feature. That said, I'm probably in the top 10% of most frugal people and I'm buying a ton of this stuff.

I'm going to assume that all these deals require Amazon Prime. If you don't have it, you can can use this link for a FREE trial. That will give you access to all these and the many other deals this is the best time to on Amazon Prime Day.

Amazon put up a bunch of HD movies for rental for 99 cents. Personally, I'm going to snag We're The Millers. There are a lot of other classics like The Matrix and Shawshank Redemption... probably 3 or 4 dozen choices overall. I think the deal is limited to one movie.

The other thing that people are freaking out over is this Anker 20,000mAh Portable Charger that lists for $80, but is on sale for $27. I have a 14,000mAh one, but it doesn't very fast like this one does. I'm thinking about whether it's worth the money to upgrade. I may justify it by saying that it gives us more tablet/cell time if we have a blackout.

If you are an Amazon Echo owner, there are additional deals today. If you buy something through your Echo, you'll save $10 on a purchase of $20 or more. However, they've also deeply discounted a few other products.

The catch is that you have to act TODAY.

I'm tempting to buy an Amazon Tap at nearly half price. You can read more about the Echo deals on my Alexa/Echo blog here. If you are interested in drones and/or cooking, it's worth a look.

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Posted on July 8, 2016.

Some of My Favorite Deals Now…

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Earlier today I wrote about how I felt weird about this deep post on payday loans on a Monday... especially because my core audience (those pursuing financial independence) probably doesn't care.

I'm always on the look-out for good deals... and I thought I'd share a few to balance that deeper article. Consider this my version of "If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding!" ... except that I'm going to give this pudding even if you don't eat your meat.

Let's dig in:

  • Amazon Fire 7" tablet for $40 - It's almost getting to the point where a tablet is cheaper than a Frisbee. You aren't going to get cutting edge for $40, but it does have a couple of nice features such as the ability to take an microSD card to expand the storage (and you'll probably want one with this).

    Less than a year ago, I thought that Amazon made tablets disposable when pricing these at $50. I thought it was a good deal then, but now you save another 20%. If only my investments did the same.

  • Omelets and Egg Salad - I have no fancy link to egg salad, but I've noticed that eggs are crazy cheap nowadays. Maybe it's just Rhode Island, but Aldi has had a dozen eggs at 95 cents for awhile. The other local grocery stores have started to fight back with 88 cent dozens. Last fall it was around $2.50 for the cheapest dozen eggs I could find. There's a big difference between less than 8 cents and egg and more than 20 cents an egg. I'm capitalizing on the cheap eggs with omelets and egg salad.

    I hope that eggs are just as cheap where you live. If they aren't, why not use this as motivation to look for a similar savings opportunity in your area?

  • Amazon Tap at 20% off - This is a portable Bluetooth speaker with Amazon's great Alexa service. I previously wrote why I wouldn't buy an Amazon Tap, but I've started to reconsider it. It's very rare that Amazon puts Alexa hardware on sale. I read recently that Amazon Echo was on sale exactly twice since it was created. The Echo Dot hasn't ever been on sale... and this is the first sale on the Amazon Tap.

    If you aren't familiar with the Amazon Echo and the Alexa service, analysts are calling it Amazon's next billion dollar business. Google (and reportedly Apple) are rushing to catch-up.

  • The Black Stallion for free (Prime Members) - About a month ago, my family was watching the Kentucky Derby and the toddlers were interested in the horses. It reminded me of when I read all The Black Stallion books as a kid. I think it was the first time that I actually wanted to read something. My kids are too young to read, so I went to see where I could watch the movie produced by Francis Ford Coppola. Amazon had it available to rent for $3.99. I procrastinated because it was hard for me to justify spending $4 to rent a 1979 movie when I can find Shawshank at almost any time for free.

    Imagine my surprise when I got an email newsletter from Amazon Prime about a few things they added... highlighting The Black Stallion for free. At first, I thought this was next-level targeted marketing, but the email greatly pushed the last season of Downton Abbey and another show they have that is similar. That would be a complete fail at marketing if they were customizing messages. Also, I don't think Amazon is making some movies available via Prime for free for some members... and it would be very weird if Amazon is using my browsing habits to determine its marketing decisions.

    What a coincidence! Good things come to those who wait, right?

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Posted on June 13, 2016.

Get a 7″ Amazon Fire for $40!

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I'm running around with dogs and kids today, so I was thinking about doing some smaller quicker posts. Of course, I want them to still be useful, so I'm going to start off on this one.

This may be a today-only deal, but Amazon has a $40 Fire tablet available.

Now it's obviously not going to be the best tablet out there. The processor is slow and the screen's resolution is not full HD. There's only 8GB of memory. That sounds like the worst tablet out there, right? Well it can take a microSD to expand the memory. There's also front and back cameras. The battery life is decent.

My point is that this tablet can be good for some things. As a parent of a 2 and 3 year old, I often view things through that prism. I am sometimes worried about trusting them with my good tablet, but I have no problems with giving them a $40 tablet and saying, "Have at it." They don't know any better to complain about the screen resolution or speed... and hopefully won't for a few more years.

I often also look at a deal as how much money I'm saving off the normal price. After all, if I can get it for a similar price in a few days, there's no need to rush in, right?

The price of the tablet is usually $50. So getting it for $40 is only going to save you $10. That said, it is a low-priced product to begin with... and it's 20% off.

Of course this comes with Amazon's version of Android. That has it's pros and cons. For Prime members like myself, it means being able to share a lot of quality content with the kids (Tumbleleaf and Go Diego Go are favorites). The biggest con is being limited to Amazon's store for apps, but I found the Amazon store to have everything I wanted.

I feel like for $40 it's hard to go too far wrong with this, right? Let me know in the comments.

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Posted on May 2, 2016.

Deal: Get Amazon Prime for $73 this Weekend

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I like to consider myself more frugal than most people. My philosophy is to use the savings, invest them, and let them grow. This means that I look to cut any subscription services that don't provide a ton of value to me.

A couple of years ago, we took the plunge to try Amazon Prime. I didn't think we'd renew, because 2-day shipping usually doesn't matter to me.

I was wrong.

Amazon's prices are competitive so with free 2-day shipping it becomes one of our core places to shop. The 15% savings from Subscribe and Save only makes it more enticing. Recently, we've been using Amazon's streaming media more. The kids love Go Diego Go (Dora the Explorer's cousin) and Tumble Leaf and they are not Netflix. Now I can tell my Amazon Echo to play music by The Beatles for free. The Beatles are streaming on a lot of services now, but it is a game changer to simply ask out loud and have music fill the room.

My wife loves the Golden Globes and with Amazon Prime's Mozart in the Jungle winning a couple of big categories. The only think I know about the show is that it is one of the few recorded in the 4K HDR format that would be perfect for my dream TV.

In honor of Mozart in the Jungle's wins at the 73rd Golden Globes, Amazon is making a year of Amazon Prime available for $73 this weekend. That's a saving of $26 from the usual $99 price.

I think it's worth the $99 a year, but if you were on the fence, maybe $73 is enough incentive to give a try? This deal is only for new Prime members, so unfortunately, I won't be saving any money on this. That's the way the ball bounces sometimes.

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Posted on January 16, 2016.

How Do You Feel About Cashback Sites?

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I've been on the fence on cashback sites for a long time. I read so many trusted friends and bloggers who rave about them. Yet, I don't think they'd work out that well for me.

I buy almost everything though Amazon. I think most cashback sites support Amazon. However, as a blogger, I know that if I use a fellow blogger's affiliate link, Amazon will give them a little money crediting them for the sale. It's a way that I can thank them for providing me great content free of charge. (By the way, if I happen to be one of your favorite bloggers, you can shop using this link.)

About ten months ago, I got an email from Rich at DollarDig. He wanted to tell me all about his great cashback site. I gave it a quick look and the design looked more dated than Lazy Man and Money. I made the too-quick judgment that there really wasn't much to see here. However, when I shared my thoughts with Rich, I realized something was different about this company...

... he actually listened and cared. Sometimes I find myself spending hours helping companies provide better service (Fidelity, I'm looking at you) and they refuse to listen. (I've since gone on to charge a consulting fee, but DollarDig got my advice for free.)

I gave him a list of things that I'd do if I worked at his company. Well, he went and implemented all of them. The site looks so good I might need to ask who his designer is.

That still begs the question though, "What makes DollarDig.com different than the competition?"

Rich explained that they offer more cashback at most stores when compared to Ebates.com (one of the biggest companies in the space). He also pointed out that CashBackHolic.com, the leading site that rates cashback sites has great reviews. I looked up those reviews and they scored a 9.2 of 10. He said that people will get a $5 bonus for signing up and they've had 250% growth in members in just the last year.

He said that support is prompt and courteous... replies usually within hours (sometimes minutes!), and a day at the most. If it's anything like my experience in talking with him, they deliver.

I'm biased because this is one of the few companies I've ever looked into, but more money back to members, better reviews, and solid customer service. As a small business myself, I can empathize with the challenges DollarDig has.

Seems like they might be would be worth a try, right? Readers, what do you say?

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Last updated on December 9, 2015.

Deal: Get a TINY 128GB 3.0 Flash Drive for $28 (VERY limited time)

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I love Ultrabooks. They are thin and light, which is great not just for travel, but for someone like me who uses their computer constantly.

Unfortunately they often come with a few compromises. The biggest compromise in my experience is the size of the solid-state drive (SSD). When I've wanted to get more than 128GB, the price rockets up a few hundred dollars to get 256GB. While prices on SSDs getting cheaper, it doesn't help me after I've made the purchase.

Today there's a remarkable deal to end that frustration. I've been looking at micro-USB drives for awhile now, but I just couldn't pull the trigger. They were either more than $60 or only USB 2.0 for a significant size (64GB). However, for just a few more hours it seems that Amazon is having a deal on this SanDisk Ultra Fit 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive.

The beauty is that I can put this in one my laptop's USB slots and not even notice it... other than having twice the storage space.

You may ask what I'm going to use it for? I've got enough movies and music to make a dent in 128GB, but I'm also going to replicate my critical data on my main laptop there. Boom, instant back-up. Fortunately that data doesn't take up a lot of space. The end result should allow me to off-load most of the data off my main drive which will help with performance.

As if it couldn't get better, I've heard about this spend $60 to get $15 from American Express on Amazon (be logged into your AMEX account when you click it). So I'm almost halfway to getting it for $12, right?

Finally, there's some kind of deal to get a free Shutterfly book with this. I'm not sure how it works or if I want it, but for free I'll give it a look.

I usually don't post individual deals like this, but this has to be a world record amount of storage for the money.

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Posted on November 19, 2015.

Special Saturday Deal Alert… (Today Only)

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It's very rare that I write articles on a Saturday, but I can't resist. Just a couple of days ago, I wrote about the best television on the market for the money here: Buying a Television? Read This First….

CNET declared an LG television as having the "Best. Picture. Ever."

Unfortunately, in 2013, it was $15,000. Today you can remove a zero and get it for $1,500.

At $1,500 it has to be the best value in high-end televsions around. However, the price is just through BuyDig (a very reputable retailer) on Ebay's Deal of the Day. Get it here.

The price is $385 less than the same product on Amazon. A very similar product (nearly the same specs, different model number) is also on Amazon with 93 great reviews here.

What do you think? A high-quality television with a $300 savings? I know that Black Friday is just around the corner, but there's no need to deal with a crowd or wait in lines.

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Posted on October 24, 2015.

I’m Loving this Mind-Hack Deal

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One of the deal sites that I follow mentioned a great deal on Blinkist. I hadn't heard of it before, but the description intrigued me. Blinkist is a website (with mobile apps naturally) that curates top non-fiction books (mostly business and self-improvement) into abstracts that you can read in 15 minutes. From my brief experience it's around 250 words a chapter.

So instead of reading a whole book, you can read the equivalent of a lengthy blog post. Obviously retention isn't going to be the same. But it is better to have read and lost than never to have read at all. Also, you can copy notes or send them to Evernote. The deal is new to me so I haven't tried out all the features. I have just read a couple of books on my phone and web browser. So far, I'd say it's the best thing I've done all week (and it's been an exceptional week for me).

Normally it is $80/yr, but StackSocial has a $30/yr offer. (You might want to set your calendar to cancel so it doesn't renew at the $80 price.) Blinkist has different tiers of memberships, but this is for the top tier that includes audio summaries.

I've already implemented some of the advice in Amanda Palmer's The Art of Asking on this website.

If there was a measure of "money well spent", I think this would get my highest recommendation. It's a small investment in time, a small investment in money, and a large return in information. When people say you should invest in yourself, it can be hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Getting the information in 1000+ books for $30 just slaps all the other "investments in yourself" in the face.

P.S. If you caught the terrible grammar in the title earlier, I apologize. I had to balance between writing something up really quickly to get the kids ready for the day or skipping informing you on the deal. I made a last minute change in the title and didn't make the article agree. Ugh! In any case, I hope you find the deal helpful.

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Posted on July 24, 2015.

Maximizing Amazon Prime Day

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[If you are not an Amazon Prime member, there's nothing to see here. Sorry.]

If you missed my post published a couple of hours ago, it's Amazon Prime Day. I was expecting more hype than substance, but I am happy to admit I was wrong.

I just completed some purchases and I am wondering if Amazon is simply going to cancel my order. I can't believe they are going to let me get this good of a deal.

First up, I got 720 for $4.25. For those of you who aren't in the world of baby wipes, this is a tremendous deal. How'd I do it? I used promo code "ELEMENTS60" and Subscribe and Save for 15% off.

The next order was a combination of deals stacked together. I put this Fire HD 7 for $79 in my cart. I would have liked the 16GB version, but it was already sold out.

I then added Amazon gift cards ($45 worth) which came with a $10 Amazon Credit with Promo Code "PRIMEGCS."

With over $100 in purchases in my cart, I was eligible to save $20 using my Amazon credit card with promo code "PRI20ARC."

That's $30 in savings (credit card savings, gift card bonus) to get an already highly discounted Fire HD at $79. (I consider the baby wipes a separate deal because they are Subscribe and Save.) I'll simply apply the gift cards to my account to use on future purchases... like those baby wipes.

Other Prime members, what are you getting?

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Posted on July 15, 2015.

 
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