Salvage grocers are stores that stock all the dented, crushed, slightly past their “best by” date products that consumers have been trained to avoid. Because of this, they’re the Dollar General or Big Lots of supermarkets, with prices up to half off regular store prices, says the Associated Press.
The New York Times says a white roof on your house “can cost as little as 15 percent more than its dark counterpart” yet “reduce air-conditioning costs by 20 percent or more in hot, sunny weather.” This is because, scientifically speaking, the color white hates the stupid sun and won’t have anything to do with it.
Kim McGrigg at Blogging for Change took a look at the dollar stores in her neighborhood and found that it can take some work to make sure you’re actually saving money. In fact, on a couple of items she actually paid a fraction more than what she would have at a superstore like Walmart. This matches what Consumer Reports’ shopping mag, ShopSmart, discovered in their recent “Dollar Mania” report (free PDF download).
Here at Consumerist, we love libraries. They’re like some weird, old-school version of Netflix, but with books! And free! That makes them one of the most cost-effective sources of entertainment and reference material around. Unfortunately, Ohio may gut the funding on this public resource if the proposed state budget goes through.
Chase just notified Greg that they’re more than doubling his minimum payment requirement. Because he and his wife are carrying such a large balance due to a promotional balance transfer offer a few years ago, this pushes their monthly payment to nearly $1,000.
Why let banks have all the fun? Run the numbers on your own personal finances, suggests a certified financial planner in the Dallas Morning News, and see whether or not you’re prepared for disruptions like a layoff or sudden interest rate increase.
Budgets are supposed to leave you money left over, right? Well, the zero-based budget takes the opposite view, and thinks you should allocate every single dollar from every paycheck so that you’re left with nothing. Well, nothing that you don’t know what you’re going to do with. The allocation can, and probably should, include savings, for example. Getting Finances Done shows you how to get started with this budgeting technique that can save you time, headache, and yes, money. To jumpstart things, here’s a spreadsheet template you can use.
Walgreens Cancels EasySaver Program, But That Doesn't Mean You Can't Still Play "The Drugstore Game"
Mitchell wrote to us complaining about Walgreen’s decision to cancel its EasySaver Rebate program, where customers could submit multiple rebate requests at once and get the money back along with a 10% bonus applied to a gift card. Although the program is no longer with us, it’s still very possible to game the reward/discount systems at Walgreens and other chain drugstores to accumulate huge savings. Sometimes you can even make money back.
The FDA is set to receive $3.2 billion next year but they don’t yet have a plan to make our food any safer. That doesn’t sit well with Congressional appropriator Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), who at a recent hearing told Acting FDA Commissioner Joshua Sharfstein: “A lot sounds to me like buzzwords from a past administration.”
So you want to write a budget, but you’re not sure where to start? No Credit Needed has a list of ten simple but necessary steps to take before drafting your first spending plan. Most consumers will already have knocked off the basics like putting their checking and savings accounts in order, but everyone can take advantage of tips like tracking your spending for a full month and making sure you have a detailed list of your irregular expenses. Once you’ve done your homework, check out our guide to writing a beginner’s budget and start mapping out your financial future.
Roll on, Summer of 09! Staying at home is sooo last year. According to a recent travel survey, America is on the move again! 95% of respondents said they are planning to get away this summer. No more navel gazing and lawn mowing. It’s on to brighter things such as cruises, the Caribbean, and even Europe. Plus, with “historically low airfares” and gas prices down a buck fifty per gallon from a year ago, you can even visit *gasp* other parts of America!
Jennifer Reese decided to make six common food items and then determine whether it was better to go the homemade route or to buy from the store. We briefly considered making our own crackers last month in a fit of anger over how expensive generic saltines have become, so we’re glad someone did the research for us.
We were fascinated to discover today that Walt Disney reused animation cycles across different movies—the characters are unique (sorta) but the motions are cel for cel copies. It looks like the movies that reuse animation are from that infamous era in the 70s and 80s when Disney’s animation unit cut too many corners and churned out less “classic” fare. Well, they were copying classics—shouldn’t that count for something? Video clip below.
In Suze Orman‘s most recent book, “2009 Action Plan,” she urges people with credit card debt to pay off their balances as quickly as possible using the high interest first method. “The fact that you pay just the minimum is a huge warning signal to your credit card company,” she writes, “that you may already be on shaky ground.” Now she’s changed her mind and says you should just pay the monthly minimum and put the rest of your money toward building an emergency cash stash. Based on the way credit card companies have been behaving, we think she has a point.
A new quarter just started this week at Marian Catholic High School in Chicago, and on the first day back, 300 students were pulled out of class and lined up outside the school, then told to contact their parents and pay their outstanding tuition or they’d have to leave. The Chicago Tribune writes that “by lunchtime, about 100 students were sent home-some confused, some embarrassed and a few angry.” The school says parents owe around $450,000 in outstanding tuition payments, far higher than usual, and that they’re trying to avoid layoffs and other budget cutbacks. Will the poor economy lead to higher attendance at public schools? “If you want a good education, you have to dish it out,” one parent told the paper.
Someone wrote to us this week that a person in his family is terminally ill, and that he was told “that the cost of the casket, funeral, viewing, and burial would possibly exceed 12,000 dollars.” He thinks that’s an “exorbitant amount of money,” and so do we. There is no reason to pay that much money for a kick-ass funeral that people will be talking about for years to come. You don’t need to be a cheapskate to manage this, either—you just need to be aware of your rights and know what traps to watch out for. Here’s our list of what to do the next time you have to plan a funeral.