Saundra Latham

Saundra Latham regularly exploits her grocery's fuel-points program for free tanks of gas and skips the salon in favor of the $5.99 sales at Great Clips. She has made her home in areas with a low cost of living, such as Dayton, Ohio, and Knoxville, Tenn.

Before joining Cheapism as the site's first staff writer, Saundra freelanced for websites including Business Insider, ConsumerSearch, The Simple Dollar, The Motley Fool, and About.com. She was previously an editor at The Columbus Dispatch, one of Ohio's largest daily newspapers. She holds a master's in communication from Ohio State University and a bachelor's in journalism from American University. 

  • Retail

    Amazon vs. Walmart vs. Jet: Who Is the Cheapest

    Amazon has long wooed customers with an expansive selection, low prices, and free two-day shipping for Prime members. By all accounts it's a winning formula: The site accounted for a staggering 43 percent of U.S. retail sales last year, according to research firm Slice Intelligence. But Walmart is making a major play for a slice of the Amazon pie, introducing free two-day shipping earlier this year on millions of items, no membership necessary. Last year, it paid more than $3 billion for Jet.com, which launched in 2015 with the express aim of nabbing some of Amazon's staggering revenue. So, where should consumers be spending their e-commerce dollars: Amazon, Walmart, or Jet? Cheapism.com compared prices on 75 items across three areas -- household staples, health and beauty, and baby and pet -- to find out. Amazon comes out on top. Amazon was the winner in our price comparison , but not by as much as online shoppers might expect. Here are the highlights: Amazon had the lowest prices overall , beating Walmart and Jet by a little over 5 percent across all three areas. The total tab was $813.39, compared with $859.26 and $859.47, respectively. Amazon had the lowest total by far in health and beauty , $265.59. It beat both Walmart and Jet by about 12 percent. Amazon was also cheapest in baby and pet , at $327.49. But the margins were slimmer: 2.3 percent over Walmart and 4.3 percent over Jet. Jet squeaked out a win in household goods with a total of $219.51. Amazon was right on its heels at $220.31, while Walmart came in at $226.71, 3.3 percent higher than Jet. Amazon had the lowest prices on 14 items. Walmart was cheapest on 12 items, and Jet was lowest on five. Price matching is aggressive , particularly between Amazon and Walmart, which had the same prices on 22 products -- nearly a third of the list. All three retailers had the same price on 15 products. While Amazon's 5 percent price edge may not seem like a huge margin, we looked at products most households will order several times throughout the year, making the savings more compelling. For instance, ordering the same health and beauty products through Amazon three times a year would add up to more than $90 in savings over Walmart and Jet -- not exactly chump change. We didn't account for potential savings with Amazon's Subscribe & Save program, which drops prices anywhere from 5 to 15 percent for buyers willing to commit to a regular shipment. Worth it? Maybe, for products you'll reliably use, but be sure to keep an eye on Amazon's prices -- they fluctuate regularly, and subscribing does not lock them in. Walmart.com offers a simpler shopping experience. Related: 25 Best Finds at Walmart Amazon may have edged out the competition in our price comparison, but there are three big reasons to shop on Walmart.com instead. First, buyers don't need to jump through as many hoops to place an order with free two-day shipping. Second, Walmart has thousands of bricks-and-mortar stores to support its e-commerce business. Finally, prices are still very low. Walmart now offers free two-day shipping on about 2 million items. The only catch is that customers need to spend at least $35. Amazon recently lowered its free-shipping threshold to $25, but that's for standard shipping, which takes five to eight days. For free two-day shipping, you'd have to cough up $99 a year (or $10.99 a month) for a Prime membership. Also, many items we priced on Amazon are available only through Prime Pantry, which means non-Prime members can't buy them at all, and even Prime members have to select at least five pantry items to avoid a $5.99 shipping fee. Other Amazon offerings were "add-on items," which don't require a membership but are available for purchase only if your order totals at least $25. Walmart offers the option of free pickup for many items that don't meet the $35 minimum for free shipping. Although this requires a trip to the store, shoppers can go straight to the pickup desk rather than navigate the aisles and wait in a checkout line. Some orders are available within four hours. Walmart customers can also return online purchases to a nearby store instead of paying for return shipping. Under Amazon's standard return policy, the cost of return shipping is deducted from your refund unless the return results from an Amazon error or the item qualifies for free returns. Walmart and Amazon also aren't as far apart on price as they might appear at first glance. Once we removed four outlier products where one retailer's price was significantly higher or lower than the other two (for instance, Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips were $41.98 on Amazon versus $54.99 from Jet and $59.82 from Walmart), the gap between Amazon and Walmart narrowed to less than $4 across all three categories. Jet.com is still worth checking. Although it had the highest prices overall in our analysis, Jet still merits consideration. Without the four outlier products, it was only 3.1 percent more expensive than Amazon and 2.6 percent more than Walmart. It also offers free shipping for orders over $35 (often two-day, although occasionally standard shipping) without requiring any sort of membership. Jet sweetens the pot by dropping prices for customers who are willing to pay with a debit card, forgo free returns, buy in bulk, and buy certain items together. Forgoing free returns and paying with a debit card -- an option on 28 out of the 75 products we compared -- halved Jet's original 5 percent price difference with Amazon. Forgoing free returns might not be a big deal on paper towels, but it would be riskier for purchases such as electronics or small appliances. And some people may not be comfortable using a debit card linked directly to a bank account for an online purchase. If you go through a lot of a particular product, Jet's bulk discounts might be more compelling. For instance, an 81-count container of Tide Pods cost $19.63 in our comparison, but the price would have dropped to $19.20 each for two containers, or $18.67 for three. Jet customers can also stack the quantity discount with the price break for paying with debit and forgoing free returns. That would have made the Tide $19.45 to start and dropped the price to $19.03 each for two containers or $18.50 for three. Again, though, this option isn't always available, and sometimes Jet still can't beat its competitors. For instance, buying five 10-count packs of Ivory soap would have dropped the price from $4.29 to $4.14 each -- but the same item was still only $3.97 at Walmart. Jet also offers harder-to-quantify discounts on items that can be packed and shipped together. For instance, buying Mr. Clean Magic Erasers together with Scotch-Brite sponges drops the price of each item a couple of pennies. The bottom line: One size doesn't fit all. Prices in our analysis were close enough to keep us from making a blanket recommendation, but here are a few takeaways: Shop on Amazon if ... you're already a Prime member. And don't forget that Prime offers additional benefits , including access to Prime Video and Prime Music, unlimited photo storage, and even same-day delivery in some areas. Shop on Walmart.com if ... you're thinking of joining Amazon Prime mainly for the fast shipping. As long as you spend $35 -- not a hard threshold to meet -- you can get free two-day shipping from Walmart without paying for a membership, and prices are neck-and-neck with Amazon. Shop on Jet.com if ... you don't mind buying in higher quantities, paying with debit, and forgoing free returns. Still, the selection isn't quite as impressive, and some shoppers may prefer a more straightforward shopping experience. PRICE COMPARISON* HOUSEHOLD Product Amazon Jet Walmart Lowest Price Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Scrub Sponges (6 ct.) $5.48 $4.65 $5.48 Jet Windex Multi-Surface Vinegar Cleaner (23 oz.) $3.12 $3.18 $3.12 Amazon, Walmart Palmolive Original (28 oz.) $2.40 $2.50 $2.40 Amazon, Walmart Mr. Clean Magic Erasers Original (8 ct.) $6.99 $6.99 $6.99 Tie Bounce Dryer Sheets (240 ct.) $8.94 $9.30 $8.94 Amazon, Walmart Energizer Max Batteries (AA, 24 ct.) $13.89 $13.89 $14.94 Amazon, Jet Liquid Plumr Professional Strength (80 oz.) $7.70 $7.70 $7.33 Walmart Air Wick Freshmatic Refills (Fresh Waters, 2-pack) $7.93 $8.25 $7.93 Amazon, Walmart Quilted Northern Ultra Plush (48 double rolls) $23.94 $23.94 $23.94 Tie Tide Pods (81 ct.) $21.30 $19.63 $19.97 Jet Glad Press 'N' Seal (70 sq. ft.) $2.94 $3.09 $2.94 Amazon, Walmart Glad OdorShield Tall Kitchen Bags (110 ct.) $12.41 $12.80 $17.32 Amazon Swiffer Wet Refills (24 ct.) $7.99 $9.37 $7.97 Amazon, Walmart Cascade Complete ActionPacs (78 ct.) $16.97 $16.91 $16.97 Jet Ziploc Sandwich Bags (90 ct.) $2.98 $3.56 $2.98 Amazon, Walmart Bounty Paper Towels (6 big rolls) $8.99 $8.96 $10.39 Jet Lysol Disinfecting Wipes (3 pack, 240 ct.) $8.97 $9.42 $8.97 Amazon, Walmart Kleenex Ultra Soft Tissues (120 sheets, 3 ct.) $4.74 $4.98 $4.74 Amazon, Walmart Swiffer Duster Refills (20 ct.) $13.97 $13.97 $13.97 Tie Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaning Gel (2 ct.) $6.88 $6.97 $6.88 Amazon, Walmart OxiClean (156 loads) $11.99 $11.99 $12.48 Amazon, Jet Vanity Fair Napkins (400 ct.) $8.16 $5.66 $8.16 Jet Reynolds Parchment Paper (45 sq. ft.) $3.48 $3.65 $3.48 Amazon, Walmart Hefty Easy Grip Plastic Cups (50 ct., 18 oz.) $3.65 $3.65 $3.48 Walmart Febreze Extra Strength Fabric Freshener (27 oz.) $4.50 $4.50 $4.94 Amazon, Jet TOTAL $220.31 $219.51 $226.71 Jet HEALTH AND BEAUTY Product Amazon Jet Walmart Lowest Price Trojan ENZ Lubricated Condoms (36 ct.) $13.97 $13.97 $13.97 Tie Neosporin Original (1 oz.) $6.47 $6.47 $6.47 Tie One A Day Men's Multivitamins (200 ct.) $14.62 $14.62 $13.92 Walmart Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen (3 oz.,  2 ct.) $11.24 $13.97 $13.97 Amazon Chapstick Original (3 ct.) $2.99 $3.09 $2.94 Walmart Olay Total Effects 7-in-1 Moisturizer (1.7 oz.) $20.79 $21.92 $21.92 Amazon L'Oréal Paris Studio Line Mega Gel (6.8 oz.) $3.97 $4.13 $3.97 Amazon, Walmart Zyrtec (70 ct.) $24.25 $34.94 $34.94 Amazon Advil (100 ct.) $7.97 $8.06 $7.97 Amazon, Walmart Biotrue Contact Solution (10 oz., 2 ct.) $15.98 $15.98 $15.98 Tie Tampax Pearl (regular, 50 ct.) $9.27 $9.27 $9.27 Tie Band-Aid Flexible Fabric (assorted, 100 ct.) $5.85 $7.97 $6.20 Amazon Mint Listerine (1.5 L) $4.99 $6.27 $5.97 Amazon Q-Tips (1,400 ct.) $9.98 $9.99 $9.54 Walmart Degree Dry Protection (women's, 2.6 oz.) $2.47 $2.61 $2.47 Amazon, Walmart Crest 3D White Professional Effects  Whitestrips $41.98 $54.99 $59.82 Amazon Oral-B Glide Pro-Health Comfort Plus Floss  (2 ct.) $4.97 $4.97 $4.97 Tie Colgate Total Whitening Toothpaste (6 oz., 2 ct.) $4.96 $5.21 $4.96 Amazon, Walmart Pantene Pro-V Daily Moisture Renewal Shampoo  (25.4 oz.) $6.99 $6.99 $6.77 Walmart Ivory Bar Soap (4 oz. bars, 10 ct.) $4.29 $4.29 $3.97 Walmart Bic Silky Touch Razors (10 ct.) $2.97 $2.97 $2.97 Tie Aveeno Active Naturals Daily Moisturizing Body  Wash (18 oz.) $6.99 $7.42 $7.42 Amazon Softsoap Antibacterial Refill (white tea and berry, 56  oz.) $4.88 $5.12 $4.88 Amazon, Walmart Purell Hand Sanitizer (67.6 oz.) $17.78 $18.14 $17.28 Walmart Vicks Dayquil/Nyquil Severe Cold & Flu Co-Pack (12  oz., 2 ct.) $14.97 $14.99 $14.97 Amazon, Walmart TOTAL $265.59 $298.35 $297.51 Amazon BABY AND PET Product Amazon Jet Walmart Lowest Price Pedigree Adult Complete Dog Food (40 lbs.) $24.39 $27.25 $20.34 Walmart Purina Fancy Feast Cat Food (Classic Poultry and  Beef, 3 oz., 24 ct.) $11.96 $13.23 $13.23 Amazon Meow Mix Original Choice (16 lbs.) $10.99 $11.88 $11.88 Amazon Purina Tidy Cats Instant Action Clumping Litter (20  lbs.) $7.98 $8.27 $7.88 Walmart Frontline Plus (small dogs, 3 doses) $31.00 $31.00 $39.86 Amazon, Jet Milkbone Treats (medium dogs, 10 lbs.) $10.98 $10.98 $10.98 Tie Temptations MixUps Cat Treats (Surfers' Delight, 16  oz.) $7.99 $8.31 $7.98 Walmart Pampers Sensitive Wipes (576 ct.) $14.39 $14.39 $14.64 Amazon, Jet Huggies Little Movers Diapers (size 4, 112 ct.) $28.82 $32.99 $28.82 Amazon, Walmart Pull-Ups Learning Designs (2T/3T boys, 74  ct.) $24.29 $24.29 $24.29 Tie Aquaphor (14 oz.) $12.74 $14.97 $14.26 Amazon Enfamil Gentlease Infant Formula (32.2 oz.) $36.99 $36.98 $36.98 Jet, Walmart Aveeno Baby Wash (18 oz.) $6.74 $8.97 $8.97 Amazon Gerber 2nd Foods (bananas with apples and pears,  4 oz., 8 ct.) $8.85 $9.33 $8.85 Amazon, Walmart Plum Organics Mighty 4  (cherry/strawberry/black  bean/spinach/oat, 4 oz., 6 ct.) $10.74 $10.74 $10.74 Tie Nuk Airflow Orthodontic Paci (2-pack, 0-6  boy) $5.05 $5.49 $5.05 Amazon, Walmart Munchkin Click Lock Flexi-Straw Cup $5.52 $6.97 $5.87 Amazon Infant Tylenol (2 oz. oral suspension) $8.77 $8.77 $8.77 Tie Playtex VentAire (6 oz. bottles, 3 ct.) $6.86 $6.86 $6.86 Tie Playtex Drop-ins Liners (8 oz., 100 ct.) $3.68 $3.83 $3.68 Amazon, Walmart Lansinoh Breast Milk Storage Bags (100 ct.) $14.99 $11.33 $10.79 Walmart Playtex Diaper Genie Refills (720 ct.) $16.87 $16.47 $16.47 Jet, Walmart All Baby Detergent (31 loads) $4.99 $6.18 $5.94 Amazon Johnson's Baby Lotion (27 oz.) $5.92 $5.92 $5.92 Tie Lansinoh Lanolin (1.41 oz.) $5.99 $6.21 $5.99 Amazon, Walmart TOTAL $327.49 $341.61 $335.04 Amazon *Prices obtained May 30-31, 2017. Items are shipped from and sold by Amazon, Walmart, and Jet, not third-party sellers.

  • Destinations

    25 Cheap Destinations for Off-Season Travel

    Plan a vacation in autumn to see Spectacular Fall Foliage , or to save on Cheap Cruises to the Caribbean and Beyond .

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  • Travel

    Best Cheap Luggage

    While prices can easily mount to $300 or much more for high-end luggage sets, there are inexpensive options below $150 for frugal travelers who wish to save their money for other travel expenses. Cheap luggage comes in a variety of shapes, styles, and sizes. Tote bags and the smallest rolling carry-ons start around $40, while larger bags are slightly more expensive. We waded through thousands of consumer and expert reviews of both hard-sided and soft fabric luggage to find which budget-priced bags offer the best mix of functionality, resilience, and overall value. We also discovered a couple of cheap luggage sets that should be left at the curb.

  • Appliances

    Best Cheap Thermostats

    Programming a thermostat is a simple way to cut energy costs. It can automatically lower the temperature in the winter and raise it in the summer, to save energy when you're sleeping or away from home, and kick up the heat or AC when you need it again. The Environmental Protection Agency pegs yearly savings at about $180 for the "average" U.S. household. Frugal consumers who don't want to pay a lot upfront to realize long-term savings can find a cheap programmable thermostat that reliably maintains a consistent temperature, within a degree or so, and is a cinch to use. We scanned thousands of expert and consumer reviews to find the best candidates for your wall. Our top picks include models between $20 and $50 that allow for weekend vs. weekday adjustability or even seven individual days of set-it-and-forget-it temperature control. We also recommend a couple of pricier but relatively affordable "smart thermostats" that can be remotely controlled.

  • Lawn & Garden

    Best Cheap Mosquito Traps

    Nothing ruins a warm summer night like mosquitoes. If these whining pests are keeping you from enjoying your yard, a cheap mosquito trap can help. Mosquito traps range from small $20 electric models that can sit on a patio to propane-powered behemoths that cost upward of $300 and must be wheeled from place to place. More expensive traps often fare as well -- or poorly -- in reviews as their budget-friendly counterparts, so this is one product category where the cheap brands may, in fact, be among the best bets. We looked over thousands of consumer reviews as well as expert sources to figure out which cheap mosquito traps are most effective at keeping those pesky, and sometimes disease-bearing, bugs away.

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