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When you're only leaving your house for groceries and medicine because the coronavirus pandemic has locked down your city and your social life, you might question why you should leave at all. After all, many doctors are conducting live video appointments now, and you can subscribe to prescription delivery services for your medications. When it comes to food, why bother to leave your home?

Experts and doctors confirm that it is safe to order food and patron local restaurants that are still offering delivery, because "COVID-19 is not transmitted through food or ingredients. Even if surfaces or packaging have been contaminated, the virus will only survive on such surfaces for a short period, therefore there is no risk of contamination," the FDA said. So doctors warn to be sure to wash your hands after you remove the packaging, as the virus may live on the outside surface if touched by an infected individual.

Whether staying home inspires you to find your inner chef or the upside to your state's shelter-in-place order is that you have an excuse to order food delivery every day, some options are more economical than others.

For Fast Food

Seamless - If you have a discount code, then Seamless is a tried and true option for a hot meal delivered to your door. However, nothing beats the discount you receive as a first-time user, which earns you $7 off. The downside is: Really, nothing beats that discount ever again, even if you continue receiving discount codes from Seamless.

Uber Eats - Uber Eats also offers discounts, like free delivery in a given month. However, for smaller, locally-owned restaurants, Uber Eats charges a fee for their services that can eat into their profits. It's best to only order from large franchises like McDonalds through UberEats.

Grubhub - While Grubhub is the parent company of Seamless, the app is a slightly different experiences. Grubhub also offers exclusive deals with restaurants, and their selection and pricing is similar to Seamless, but their business model is questionably damaging to restaurants. For ethics, maybe look at the newer apps.

DoorDash - As a newer app, DoorDash runs many promotions, from free delivery to cash discounts as high as $100 (on large orders, of course). Also, you can track the status of your order and the location of your driver!

Delivery.com - Less well-known than Seamless, Delivery.com is somewhat of a hidden gem. The company often emails customers discount codes or runs promotions, ranging from 10% off to a whole $10 off an order. Additionally, you collect points for every dollar spent, and you can redeem them for cash credited to your account!

For Groceries / Liquor

Instacart - With a large selection of local retailers and very efficient delivery, Instacart offers discounts on certain items or on certain brands if you order a given number of products. However, the service fee is different for individual stores, and it can be pricey. In addition, some of the listed prices are higher than those in the store. The shoppers are very communicative, though; you can text them about changes to your order and change their tip after your delivery is complete.

Delivery.com - You can also order laundry service, groceries, and liquor through Delivery.com! Depending on your location, you can select beer, wine, and liquor and have it delivered to your door, where you'll be asked to show ID confirming that you're 21 or over.

Stay safe and stay inside–but that doesn't mean you have to give up the vice of ordering out. Patron local businesses, and remember to tip your efficient delivery people! They're making life easier for all of us during this difficult time.

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The Federal Reserve sets the guardrails for the federal funds rate, and through that helps control the money supply for the nation.

When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.

A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.

One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.

The Federal Reserve The Federal Reserve


The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.

This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.

The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.

Getty Images/Maria Stavreva

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