(Scott Lynch)

Remember, the best time to shop for a snow shovel is before you actually need a shovel. Just grabbing the cheapest one at the closest store can create a lot of extra work for yourself in the long run if it isn’t the right shovel for you, your abilities, and the type of snow that you typically get. Know your abilities and know your shovel types. Maybe even buy more than one for different surfaces. [Consumer Reports]

(Anne Makaske)

Consumer Reports Battles The Prerinsing Menace

Our colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports are fighting for a cause that might not seem all that important…especially not in comparison with pressing policy issues like antibiotics-laden meat or the looming merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable. Yet this issue does lead to the waste of large amounts of water, energy, and time. It doesn’t have to be this way. [More]

(Matt Reeve Photography)

Most people associate the idea of cooking from scratch in the microwave with nightmarish visions of the early ’80s, or with the ambitious sadness of the book Microwave Cooking for One. It is possible to cook real, non-ramen food in the microwave, though, including steaming vegetables (like corn still in the husk) and even fish filets. You can even partially cook chicken in the science oven to save time when grilling. [Consumer Reports]

Cut Your Regular Expenses With A Bill Haggle Day

Cut Your Regular Expenses With A Bill Haggle Day

Here’s an interesting money-saving idea that might not take you too long. Set aside a day and declare it Bill Haggle Day. What’s that? it’s the day when you look over your recurring expenses that you aren’t interested in canceling, and try to negotiate better deals for the same service. [More]


This Wizard Will Help You Write A Complaint Letter–No, Not That Kind Of Wizard

Do you need to write a complaint letter, but don’t know where to begin? As long as you can type a few facts in a box, you can produce a simple, classy, and easy-to-read complaint letter that should get the job done. [More]

Here’s A Sample Complaint Letter For When You Don’t Know What To Say

(Donovan Beeson)

It’s hard to know where to start when writing a complaint letter. If our inbox is any indication, this difficulty manifests itself in free-form rants and confusion about what to say. It doesn’t have to be that way: simply stating the facts and explaining why the company should help you is enough. If you aren’t much of a wordsmith, Consumerist is here to help. [More]


Answer Cycle: Solutions To 4 Common Laundry Problems

Everyone wears clothes and everyone has to clean them somehow, but changes in laundry technology mean that you might encounter problems that your parents never taught you to solve. Don’t worry: the heroic appliance testers and textile experts down the hall from us at Consumer Reports have you covered. [More]

Advance Fee Fraudsters Offended When I Use Junk Mail Nuclear Option

Advance Fee Fraudsters Offended When I Use Junk Mail Nuclear Option

For some years now, we’ve suggested a nuclear option when a company simply will not sending you unwanted mail. It’s called a prohibitory order, and officially intended for when someone sends you smutty material that you didn’t ask for. Junk mail is pretty offensive, though, right? Yet one company was offended when a reader used this option to end a torrent of junk mail. [More]

(You As A Machine)

How To Slice A Dozen Cherry Tomatoes Or Grapes At Once

Arguably, single grapes and cherry or grape tomatoes are already perfect, bite-sized foods. There are reasons why you might want to slice them in half, though: so you can include them in a chicken salad, to make them easier to catch with a fork in a fruit salad, or because you’re serving them to small, choking-prone children. Here’s a method to chop a dozen or more at the same time. [More]

73 degrees? good luck with that.

Portable Air Conditioners: Not So Portable, Don’t Cool The Air

The concept of a portable air conditioner implies that the device is portable, and that you can cool a room with it. They would be a wonderful tool if this were were true, but tests by our breezy and cool colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports show that they compare unfavorably to window-mounted air conditioners in pretty much every way, and you might be better off with no air conditioner at all. [More]


More Mystical Secrets Of Retail Price Codes

Last fall, we posted a handy cheat sheet to price tag codes that can tell you whether an item is on its first or last markdown, or even whether it’s on clearance or just plain on sale. Want to learn some more codes? Of course you do! [More]

How Many BTUs Of A/C Do I Need For My Home?

How Many BTUs Of A/C Do I Need For My Home?

We don’t need to go outside, look at a thermometer, or even to peek outside the skylights of the Consumerist Bunker: we can tell when temperatures are beginning to climb in much of the United States, because search engine traffic begins to pour in to old posts about how to figure out how many BTUs you need when shopping for a room air conditioner. Fear not, overheated Consumerists: we’re always here to help. [More]

Give Your Gas Grill A Checkup Before Summer Begins

Give Your Gas Grill A Checkup Before Summer Begins

Around my suburban neighborhood, the smell of grilled meat is beginning to waft from backyards. Here in the Northeast, we pack our grills away for the off-season. Now that it’s May, we’re fairly certain that it’s not going to snow anymore, so most people are bringing their grills out of hibernation. How can you make sure that yours is in safe working condition for meat season? [More]

7 Household Expenses You Can (And Should) Cut

7 Household Expenses You Can (And Should) Cut

Looking to cut back on your spending, or just put more in savings? You might be leaking money without realizing it with some common household expenses. [More]

(Dave Buchwald)

You Can Make Your Own Greek Yogurt At Home

If you like the texture and protein content of Greek yogurt, but don’t like the prices and want to avoid products thickened with milk powder, there’s another option that is often cheaper: make your own at home. No, we don’t mean fermenting your own yogurt from scratch, though that isn’t very hard either. Start with plain regular yogurt and strain it yourself, which somehow still costs less per ounce than buying a whole container of Greek yogurt. [More]

Yes, You Can Use Grocery Coupons While Avoiding Junk Food

Yes, You Can Use Grocery Coupons While Avoiding Junk Food

Clipping coupons can be a fun hobby and effective money-saving strategy, but a recent study shows that the coupons that come stuffed in your local paper are often for unhealthy or pre-made foods and brand-name products. Does this mean that coupons are completely useless if you don’t want to eat junk? No, not necessarily. [More]

(Steve Mohundro)

3 Extremely Boring Ways To Save Money On Gas

We all like to think that there are special tricks we can learn or technology that we can use to improve our fuel economy and save money on gas. That’s not so: there are tricks we can employ, but they’re intuitive and extremely boring. [More]


Quit Wasting Money On Internet Impulse Purchases

The Internet has brought an amazing array of merchandise into our lives and onto our doorsteps. However, being able to order a crate of hamburger-shaped cookies from Japan or a complete DVD box set of “Friends” episodes at 3 A.M. during a spell of insomnia isn’t always a good thing. Especially when you’re trying to eliminate debt and/or cut down on spending. [More]