The second half of summer is “complain about textbook prices” season, and last week the New York Times put together a special section on the topic and asked experts to weigh in. Too many of the contributors just provide an overview of the situation but no solutions; a publishing industry representative actually defends textbook prices as trivial compared to other educational costs. Fortunately Anya Kamenetz, who writes for Fast Company, suggests Flat World Knowledge. And to be fair, the guy who defended textbooks prices suggests CourseSmart for ebook rentals. The Times also asked students, professors and parents to weigh in with advice. [More]
Rissa writes in to let us know that you can get a great deal by haggling a little bit with the manager of Lowe’s. [More]
Are you holding on to some old kitchen myths? If so, this website will shock and astound you as it slap chops the truth into your face. For example, baking soda in the fridge isn’t an efficient way to prevent odors, aluminum cookware doesn’t cause Alzheimer’s, and mayonnaise–at least the commercial brands made in the U.S.–will actually help prevent spoilage in dishes like chicken salad. [More]
The next time you find yourself somewhere without a corkscrew, try the technique in this video before you buy one. If you’ve got a shoe and a wall, you might be able to tap the cork out with a few carefully controlled smacks. [More]
Inc. magazine has published a list of tips on how to get your home business tax documentation in order right now, so next year’s tax filing will be trouble free. Sure, this isn’t the most exciting staycation idea ever, but on the other hand anything you can do at home you can do in your underwear with a six pack of beer. I should really become a motivational speaker. [More]
If you’re planning a haircut at Supercuts anytime soon, bring cash to tip your super cutter. Joe reports that his local branch of the chain, at least, has stopped letting customers add a tip for their stylist to their total bill. Tips are now cash only. [More]
We know that tipping is a touchy topic, but a cab driver in New Orleans appears to have gone a teensy-weensy bit too far in his attempt to wrest a 10% tip from his passenger and he’s now facing charges of extortion, simple assault and false imprisonment. [More]
According to a lawsuit filed in New Jersey, a CSR at Wells Fargo’s Home Mortgage Division refused to correct a payment error for Jamie Nelson unless she had some “phone fun” with him first. Phone fun, in this case, seemed to mean naked pics of the woman. She’s suing for emotional distress, since you can’t take someone to court simply for being a skeevy jackass. Wells Fargo says they’re taking the allegations seriously. [More]
If you want to buy environmentally friendly products when you’re out shopping, you’ll find plenty of options these days. The trouble is that “green,” like “organic,” is considered a very loose concept by lots of manufacturers. The Chicago Tribune put together a list of ways you can spot the fakes on your next shopping trip. Here’s an easy rule of thumb: the words eco, earth, green, friendly, gentle and kind are all frequently used to give the impression of being environmentally friendly, but they’re essentially meaningless marketing words. [More]
If you spend a lot of time online, you’re probably aware of phishing scams and know what to look out for. In other words, you’re not one of those ignorant types who clicks on links and starts entering personal information without hesitation. Writer and blogger Cory Doctorow is what you might call hyper-vigilant–he keeps unique passwords, uses a VPN when going online in public, and generally knows not to trust strangers. Still, he got phished a couple of weeks ago. [More]
As many Consumerist readers have pointed out over the years, you’re generally under no obligation to leave a tip for someone who provides you a service. That being said, most of us still do — and for a seemingly increasing number of services. That’s why we want to know about those situations in which you almost always leave a little extra. [More]
The sorry state of the economy the past couple of years has actually led to higher prices for used cars, writes Kiplinger. That’s because more people started buying used cars, which tightened the supply while also reducing the number of fresh trade-ins. It may be a couple of years before prices drop again, but Kiplinger has some suggestions for saving money if you plan on buying a used car this year. [More]
A few days ago, someone posted on reddit that he was divorced, unemployed, and now living out of his car. This prompted someone who’d already had the experience to post a list of tips for the (hopefully temporarily) homeless, including safe/legal places to park, strategies for staying clean, and how to maintain social connections. How does he know all this stuff? He lived out of his truck for over a year and saved his money to pay off $17k in debt. [More]
The New York Times has a soul-soothing calculator that lets you know whether you’d be better off renting or buying. [More]
Readers have told us the best way to save money on your cable bill without the hassle of actually switching is to call them up and negotiate… but what should you actually say?
Pre-Game Warm-Up: [More]
Elizabeth Brooks, a professor at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, has some advice for people trying out makeup when they’re out shopping. As most people know, makeup can harbor bacteria and viruses, and shared testers are the worst offenders: Brooks tested hundreds of makeup counter samples for a study and found 100% of it was contaminated with things like staph, strep, and E. coli. [More]
It has finally arrived — April 15 — Tax Day.
Today is the deadline for filing your 2009 federal and state income tax returns. The envelopes must be postmarked by midnight tonight.