Being a smart consumer in the age of COVID-19 means protecting yourself against scams, price-gouging and identity fraud, all of which have accelerated as a result of the pandemic. According to the FBI – which monitors this illegal activity – all Americans should exercise renewed vigilance against these threats, which are enumerated on the bureau’s frequently-updated site. In similar fashion, Nassau County has warned residents against numerous COVID-19-related email and phone scams that are making the rounds in the past few months.
Price-gouging is another threat to your wallet (and perhaps even to your health if it means you can’t afford the PPE you need). To report incidents of price-gouging to the New York State Attorney General’s office, call 1-800-697-1220 or email PriceGouging@NassauCountyNY.gov
So yes, vigilance and caution are key to protecting yourself from getting ripped off by unscrupulous offenders during COVID-19. But being a smart consumer right now doesn’t just mean protecting yourself against threats; it means taking advantage of the many available deals offered by businesses to stimulate consumer demand. Here are some that we hope will have value for you:
Auto and Auto Insurance Deals
After Americans began driving fewer miles due to the arrival of stay-at-home orders, auto insurance companies began offering discounts, refunds and other reductions to insurance premiums. While some of these reductions expired in June, others continue, so it’s a great time to shop for more affordable auto insurance.
Looking for a new car? Auto sales took a big hit in 2020, and dealerships are now offering aggressive deals to get consumers back into the showroom. Deals you’re likely to encounter include zero-interest financing and “cash back rebates.” Because many dealerships aren’t back to full strength in terms of employee count, it might take a bit longer to complete your purchase, but if you’re patient and determined you might just score a great deal.
First Responder Discounts
To reward first responders and medical professionals who’ve done so much to fight the pandemic, many brands – including Adidas, AT&T, BP, Frigidaire, GM, Nike and dozens of others – are offering special deals for these folks. Dealhack.com provides an exhaustive 38-page downloadable PDF listing these discounts. You can find it here: https://dealhack.com/wp-content/uploads/First-Responder-Discount-Guide.pdf
Shopping malls are now reopening in Nassau County (provided that they adhere to the specific COVID-19 guidelines for malls published by the New York State Department of Health). If you decide to visit one, be on the lookout for deals, which will likely be available as retailers attempt to unload unsold Spring and Summer merchandise to make way for the arrival of Fall inventory. Even when discounts from the list price aren’t offered, check to see whether the retailer will ship the item for free – this incentive has been a popular one since the pandemic began. Shopping portal RetailMeNot.com provides a frequently updated COVID-19 savings hub page that will keep you apprised of many good deals currently offered by retailers.
Other Ways to Save
A penny saved is a penny earned, so if your earnings or savings have taken a hit due to COVID-19, it’s a good time to take a careful look at your expenses with an eye to reducing/removing unnecessary expense items. For example, if you have both an Amazon Prime and a Netflix account, consider whether you really need both streaming services. If you’re out of contract on your mobile phone or cable TV plan, investigate incentives offered by other providers.
And because it’s likely that you’re using more energy at home because of stay-at-home orders, examine your home energy use. Make sure that air conditioner filters are clean and use fans when possible. Use curtains or drapes to keep the sun from heating up rooms. Unplug power supplies to devices when they’re not in use to prevent “phantom energy loss.” PSEG Long Island has an informative page on its site with some great ideas about how to reduce power consumption in your home.
Maidenbaum is Here for You
While the pandemic has been daunting and disruptive to everyone, and has changed the way we live our lives, property taxes are still here and are a concern for many homeowners. With that being said, we at Maidenbaum have continued to work diligently throughout the pandemic and are gearing up for the upcoming 2022/2023 tax season beginning in September. Please have a safe, fun Summer – we’ll do our part by following any and all news related to the property tax situation here in Nassau County and pledge to keep you fully apprised on the latest developments.