How much to spend on cable, internet and telephone is something nobody had to worry about only a few generations ago. Today, the Pew Research Center says that after housing, cable and satellite TV service was most frequently cited as a regular household expense (78%), followed by cell phones (74%) and internet service (65%). By contrast, just four-in-ten adults (42%) say they make a car payment. If you’re looking for a way to cut the amount of money you spend on these “information age” expenses, we’ve got three of them to choose from.
Consumer Reports says that despite an overall downturn in appliance purchases, one category is up 13% from last year. Freezers!
Now that the price of oil has dropped — you should expect some of those skyrocketing grocery bills you’ve been paying to drop, right? Yeah… probably not.
Yahoo! SmartMoney lists 9 sites that will help you manage your everyday budgeting. [Yahoo!]
Reader Ozzie points us to video game developer Ashley Cheng’s blog post about budget gaming. The tips are basic, but it’s good advice nonetheless.
A while back the New York Times was concerned about the cost of the Iraq War and published some estimates of what else we could have bought with that money. We didn’t find that very interesting at the time, but now, while trying to wrap our minds around just how effing huge the $700 billion proposed bailout of Wall Street really is, we decided to revisit that article. Here’s what you can buy for less than $700 billion, according to the New York Times.
- Apple: Refurbished iPod touches on sale, 8GB for $180, 16GB for $240, 32GB for $320
- Amazon: Rewards points upgrade for existing Amazon.com Visa holders
- Apple: Free Select iTunes TV Shows in HD (requires iTunes 8
Highlights From Dealnews
- Travelocity: United Airlines Sale: Round-trip flights from $108
- Amazon.com: Amazon.com Men’s Watch Deals: Timex, Marc Ecko, more from $40 + free shipping
- Sears: Seven7 Women’s Jeans for $18 + $6 s&h, more
Highlights From Buxr
- Budget Truck Rental: $50 Gift card when paying w/American Express
- Reverie: T-Shirt Sale: Buy 1 TEE get 1 free TEE
- BestBuy: Westinghouse 42″ 1080p LCD HDTV and portable DVD Player for $749.99 + shipping
Highlights From Dealhack
Reader MervinGleasner has Hello Kitty to thank for his unique method of curbing personal spending. In a comment on our “Succeed Through Self-Undermining!” post, he writes:
US News & World Report’s Alpha Consumer Blog offers a quiz to help you determine the answer to the following ever-puzzling question: Can you afford to have a baby? [Alpha Consumer]
Zach tried to rent a truck from Budget last month, and not only did he not get the truck, but he didn’t get the compensatory gift card they offered by way of apology. In fact, pretty much the only real thing he got from Budget was a $50 fee on his credit card for being a “no show”—even though he arrived at the location a half hour before closing only to find it locked up. Oh, and the location was 150 miles from his home.
Kevin noted on his Budget rental forms that his truck was covered with graffiti and other nicks and scratches before driving off the lot. As soon as he returned the truck, the lot agent pointed out a slew of damage and invited him inside. He said that Kevin had two options: pay $670 in cash immediately, or pay several thousand dollars to corporate later. Kevin paid the extortion fee, but now Budget’s corporate office wants $2,080 to repair, among other things, graffiti damage.
Over at Wise Bread they have an interview with Mary Webber, a Frugal Family Thrift Counselor. Yes, that’s apparently a real job.
If you were eyeing the “budget-priced” Gateway P-6831FX and thought about picking one up at your local Best Buy, you’ll want to wait until this Sunday, February 17th, when Best Buy says it will lower the price again.
John Norris’ family is drinking a lot less milk these days. He said he considers the higher prices and has cut back on his kids’ milk consumption. But between work and family obligations, he still drives almost as much as he used to.
Budget Rent-A-Car settled with the FTC over its illegal charge of fuel fees even for customers who returned the car with a full tank of gas. Budget claimed in its advertising and in-store signage that customers would not be charge for fuel if the car came back with its tank full. In reality, Budget would charge customers a $5, $6, or $9.50 fuel fee if they drove fewer than 75 miles and returned with the tank full. The only way to get the fee reversed was to present a gas receipt, a procedure Budget didn’t disclose in advance. Under the terms of the settlement, Budget will have to stop doing this crap.
Bankrate is concerned that you’ll spend more than you can afford this holiday shopping season, so they’ve got a list of 7 “budget busters”:
Travelodge, which runs more than 300 budget business hotels in the UK, is training its staff on how to respond to the 70% surge in the past year of naked men sleepwalking through their hotels: “One tip in the company’s newly released ‘sleepwalkers guide’ tells staff to keep towels handy at the front desk in case a customer’s dignity needs preserving.” The sleepwalkers have been reported asking questions like, “Where’s the bathroom?,” “Do you have a newspaper?” and “Can I check out, I’m late for work?”