Are You Spending $145 A Year Just To Leave Your PS3 On All The Time?

The NRDC has released some numbers about video game consoles and their power consumption. If you’re one of the 50% of gamers who leave their consoles on all the time — you’re wasting a lot of money.

Save Money On "Foaming" Hand Soap By Watering Down Regular Hand Soap

Save Money On "Foaming" Hand Soap By Watering Down Regular Hand Soap

Reader Isreal has made an exciting discovery. Foaming hand soap is basically just less viscous regular, cheaper hand soap. By watering down cheaper hand soap, you can save money.

Graph: Which Cellphone Company Has The Best Early Termination Fee Policy?

Graph: Which Cellphone Company Has The Best Early Termination Fee Policy?

Discounting or pro-rating the early termination fees that cellphone companies love to tack on to their contracts is becoming more common, so we thought we’d make some graphs that show the strengths and weaknesses of the different policies. As you can see, T-Mobile 2-year ETF doesn’t make any discounts until fairly late in the contract period — and their ETF of $200 is higher than either of the other two companies that offer discounts. (Sprint does not pro-rate or discount its ETF.) T-Mobile’s ETF does, however, reach a point where their discounts are steeper than Verizon and AT&T’s pro-rating.

Insurance Insider Tells How To Appeal Coverage Denial

Insurance Insider Tells How To Appeal Coverage Denial

We’ve heard plenty of horror stories about people’s coverage being denied for situations where they’re darn sure that they were covered, and now, an insurance industry insider has come forward with some tips on how best to make an appeal.

How I Got Commerce To Refund $45 In Cycle Service Charge Fees

How I Got Commerce To Refund $45 In Cycle Service Charge Fees

Yesterday I walked away from Commerce Bank victorious: my entire balance in my wallet, my fees reversed, and my account closed. I had an account there that I just sort of kept as a “money in a book” account. You know, you hide money in a book on your shelf so you forget about it and one day when you really need some extra scratch you realize, hey wait, I’ve got that money in a book. Except this way I wouldn’t run the risk of forgetting which book it was. In retrospect I realize that was kind of a half-stupid, half-smart idea. That’s how I roll. Another way I roll is a little policy called, “You don’t get to steal my money.”

How Robots Are Killing Customer Service

How Robots Are Killing Customer Service

Here is the live audio and powerpoint from a recent presentation I gave called, “The 5 Things Your Customers Aren’t Telling You.” This is number 3, “Stop Hiding Behind Walls Of Robots.” It’s all about how companies think they’re saving money by replacing humans with machines but sometimes machines can’t do jobs as well as humans, especially when it comes to customer service. I brought the point to life with a funny little story about eBay and their wonderfully inept automated email response system. I hope you enjoy the video, including the intro and outro ditties I worked up on my girlfriend’s old Yamaha synth. [More]

Inside The Consumer Reports Testing Facility

Inside The Consumer Reports Testing Facility

Ever wonder how Consumer Reports figures out which products to recommend? For one, it takes mad science, like this echo-free room that sits on a different foundation from the rest of the building. I was up at the Consumer Reports HQ yesterday for a planning meeting related to a blogger’s conference they’re planning for June, and they were nice enough to give me a quick tour of their testing facilities. I snapped some 33 pictures with my cellphone camera. Check them out in the interactive photo essay gallery, inside…

How To Recession-Proof Your Career

How To Recession-Proof Your Career

With the economy on the brink of recession, many folks are concerned about their jobs. Will the company downsize or have temporary layoffs? Will employees be asked to forego raises or (gasp!) take pay cuts? The Wall Street Journal addresses this issue head-on and lists eight tips for recession-proofing your career. They offer some good suggestions, but here are two we especially like: