Sure, putting on a Thanksgiving dinner isn’t cheap or easy today, but what about mere weeks after the Stock Market Crash of 1929? A few years ago, I found a sample holiday menu plan in a newspaper article from 74 years ago, and wondered: what would this feast for four people for $7.89 cost today? [More]
Kristin’s complaint may be the archetypal definition of a first-world problem. But that’s okay, because it’s just annoying as all get out. She noticed when watching a TV series on Netflix streaming that when one episode finishes, the next one starts up right away. While this is extremely helpful if you want to, say, get through an entire season of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer in one glorious, slothful weekend day, Kristin doesn’t like it. She’s probably not alone in this. [More]
Extended warranty plans are generally known as being bad deals for consumers. But how specifically are they bad? An insider who works, begrudgingly, for an extended service plan company lays out some of the worst extended warranty deals to watch out for when shopping this holiday season. [More]
Last night I caught an advance screening of a new documentary, “Revenge of the Electric Car.” It’s by the same director who did “Who Killed The Electric Car?” except this story ends in triumph instead of tragedy. [More]
This week there was a finance technology conference in New York called Finovate. I was able to slip in incognito because my press pass had been printed out as, “Ben Popken, Managing Editor, The Consumer Blog.” Freed from the shackles of people knowing who I was and thereby trying to influence my reportage, I was able to survey the scene with a clear and penetrating gaze. Here are four of the new sites that sounded the most interesting. [More]
You need a flowchart and a spreadsheet to understand all the different stages of the debt ceiling bill that passed the House yesterday and is likely to pass the Senate today. But let’s not get hung up on who does what to whom at what point, and when that super-awesome “sudden death mode” of spending cuts kicks in. Instead, let’s look at what the debt-ceiling bill means to you and your wallet. [More]
Summer’s Eve is catching some flack for a series of ads that use hand puppets, titled vertically, to promote its line of feminine genital cleansing products. With three puppets, each portraying a different ethnicity with phrases like “”ay-yi-yi” (Latina) and “do you really want to be itchy down here? Mmmmhmm” (African-American), and “Just a little love for your vertical smile,” (Caucasian), for some viewers the clips are managing to hit that magical advertising sweetspot of being both sexist and racist. [More]
We got over 225 comments when we asked you, “What’s the most frugal thing your dad ever did?” You guys have some really crafty pops. Your stories were humorous, heartfelt, and inspiring. I seriously got misty reading some of them. Others made me fearful for how our generation of young men will ever live up to what these heroes of frugality and grit did on a daily basis. Here are 16 of the best. [More]
I’m 2 lbs away from my weight loss goal. What’s my secret you ask? An ancient technique passed down to me by visions of an Aztec god: diet and exercise. Specifically soccer. Oodles of soccer. [More]
Q: I’m taking a vacation, room rates are ridiculous. Any way you can save me some money?
A: This is fun. You can start your own miniature bidding ware by calling up several hotel desk clerks and ask them for “the cheapest non-refundable rate.” Play them against each other. Using this method, you can save upwards of $20 off the online rate, even though they insist that that’s their cheapest available rate.
With more tornadoes on the way tonight after last weekend’s deadly twisters that killed 45 and left hundreds of homes damaged and destroyed, it’s important to have your ducks in a row to get your tornado insurance claim check issued quickly should disaster strike. After you shake off the daze and dust from the destruction, what do you do to get your cash fast and get on the road to repair and recovery? [More]
The liquidators have swooped into Borders with giant black and yellow signs screaming 20-40% off. But are these sales a good deals for consumers? I visited one to find out. [More]
Just because the economy is in the dumps doesn’t mean your spirits have to be on V-Day. There’s lots of great ways to celebrate your relationship without buying into all the myths of conspicuous consumption. At the same time, classic romantic gestures can be nice and sweet, as long as there’s more feeling than Franklins behind them. Here’s a guide to some last-minute, creative, frugal and even free ways to say “I love you.” (Spoiler alert: the best day to celebrate February 14… is February 15! It’s like getting Valentine’s Day half-off!) [More]
Last week Meg McLain’s story lit up the internet. She says she was cuffed, her ticket was ripped up, and she was kicked out of the airport after she refused the body scanner and tried to ask questions about the pat-down. The TSA took it seriously enough to quickly post security footage of the incident on their blog. I reached Meg by phone to find out more about what happened, and, especially, why she refused the body scanner in the first place. Here is the interview, which has been condensed and edited. [More]
Do your friends without iPhones wonder why you randomly send them texts with the word “utter” or “boner” in them? The answer, as you’ve explained over and over again, is iPhone auto-correct. [More]