(Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie)

After A House Fire, Watch Out For Actual Criminals, Not Just Scummy Contractors

Earlier this week, we posted about the public adjusters and contractors who show up at the scene of a house fire, often before all of the flames are even out. Reader Josh’s family has been through a fire recently, and he wrote in to warn people about a whole different set of entrepreneurs who might stop by your home after a fire…looters. [More]

(Scoboco)

What Is The Gray Market, And Why Should I Care?

Back in February, we posted the story of a reader who got a great deal from an online discount vendor on a Samsung MP3 player, but learned that there was a reason why the deal was so fab. It had been manufactured for the Chinese market, not the United States market, and made its way to her pocket through gray market channels. That meant that it didn’t have a warranty through Samsung USA: if she wanted to fix it, she had to send it for repair in Hong Kong. Okay, but what’s the “gray market?” [More]

(Scoboco)

Haggling For People Who Are Terrified To Haggle

Unless they’re flea market regulars, modern Americans are not great at haggling. It’s why we hate car shopping so much. Most of us want our prices posted on the wall or on a little sticker, and that’s all. But simple haggling can save a lot of money, and it can be relatively painless. You just have to say seven words.

[More]

(MeneerDijk)

Can you replace a cracked smartphone screen yourself? Yes, and there are plenty of tools, kits, and online tutorials available to help you. Should you do it? Maybe, say our colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports, armed with pentalobe screwdrivers and lab coats. [More]

(mava)

Do you turn your printer off when you’re not using it? You might be wasting electricity…and ink. Our watt-measuring colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports Electronics note that letting your printer enter standby mode often uses less power than turning it off or on. For inkjet printers, the toll also includes ink: some models slorp a bit more ink when priming the jets to print when you turn the printer on rather than letting it wake up from standby mode. [Consumer Reports Electronics]

(frankieleon)

There Is Always A Best Way To Cook A Frozen Pizza

Looking to get the best culinary experience out of your frozen pizza? That’s not an oxymoron. The smell of tomato sauce and cheese is drifting down the hall from our colleagues at Consumer Reports, who compared the same pizza when cooked in a conventional oven and a microwave oven. Their goal was to figure out the best way to cook frozen pizzas for optimal texture and tastiness.

[More]

(catastrophegirl)

I Love You, But Um… Can I Have That Money You Owe Me?

As much as no one really treasures the experience of having to ask a loved one or friend to borrow money, we’re sure probably no one relishes the idea of asking someone to pay you back that money they borrowed.

[More]

(ThisADDLife)

The Average Wedding In 2012 Came With A $28,400 Price Tag

Are you thinking of getting married? We hope you’ve been attentive to your piggy bank if you’re considering a celebration anything like the average wedding last year — one wedding website says brides and grooms (and their generous families, perhaps) shelled out an average of $28,427 on the big shebang in 2012. [More]

Jerry could've been in social media.

Help Us Help You: One Company’s Social Media Rep Explains How To Get Complaints Resolved

A common refrain here at Consumerist that we try to promote is “kill’em with kindness.” Shouting, writing angry emails in all caps and generally freaking out at customer service representatives are all tactics guaranteed to make your quest for a positive resolution a lot harder. And as one company’s social media rep writes in to explain to Consumerist, often complaining customers aren’t doing anything to help her help them. [More]

(pstardesign)

Want Cheap Baseball Tickets? Buying Early Could Make All The Difference This Season

We’re still weeks away from the first pitch on Opening Day, but for baseball fans it’s probably a good idea to start thinking now  about buying tickets to see your favorite team. We’re sure there’s an early bird catching the worm baseball analogy somewhere here, right?  [More]

(Northwest dad)

4 Things That Make You Spend Too Much Money At The Grocery Store

Roaming the aisle of the grocery store can sometimes feel like walking around in a big money pit. Sure, everyone needs food to survive, but does it have to end up costing an arm and a leg every time you make a trip to stock up on your weekly necessities? If you’re walking out shaking your head and wondering how it all piles up, you can probably chalk it up to a few reasons. [More]

Ask Tax Dad: Should I Hire A Tax Preparer? What If I Win The Lottery?

Ask Tax Dad: Should I Hire A Tax Preparer? What If I Win The Lottery?

Usually, our staff Certified Tax Cat handles questions about taxes, but he got into some really bad ‘nip and is taking the year off. Filling in for him is Laura’s dad, a retired accountant and real live independent tax preparer. Exclusively on Consumerist, Tax Dad answers your questions. [More]

(Earth2Kim)

4 Things You Can Do Right Now To Save A Ton Of Money

Most of our posts discuss the ways that people spend money and things that they’ve spent their money on: discount shopping, paying bills, banking, full-body lattes, and so on. Ways to save money lead to much less interesting headlines, but are a key way to slim down your budget. Or to save up for a fun new gadget. We don’t judge. [More]

(YouTube)

6 Things You Can Learn From YouTube Hit “Thrift Shop” Without Having To Listen To It

I will be the first one to admit that before today, I had not listened to/viewed “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, a YouTube hit with over 69 million views. Why? Because I didn’t feel like it. If you’re the same way, don’t worry — we can keep you in the loop and provide some actual real-life advice as relayed by the song’s lyrics. And you’ll never even have to listen to it if you don’t want to. Win-win. [More]

If You’re Looking For An iPhone 5, Consider Going No-Contract

If You’re Looking For An iPhone 5, Consider Going No-Contract

If you’re looking for an iPhone 5, do you want to pay an extra $450 now, or an extra $1000 over the next two years? Buying an unlocked phone and using a no-contract carrier can give you sticker shock initially, but you can save quite a bit of money in the long run. Our number-crunching colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports looked into it, and found that if you can pay for your new phone itself out of pocket, going unlocked and contract-free is a much better deal. [More]

(RedandJonny)

‘Children Are Just Plain Scared Of Santa’: A Former Mall Santa Tells All

Disappointed because your children became hysterical once they were seated on Santa’s lap and the cameras came out? In this post, you will learn how to prevent Santa meltdowns. One winter, Brandon was unemployed and ended up working at the local mall, seated in the Santa throne. So if you take your kids to have their photos taken with Santa and file their last-minute gift requests this weekend, keep these tips in mind.

[More]

(Scorpions and Centaurs)

Stockpiling Groceries Saves Money And Doesn’t Mean You’re A Crazy Person

When you hear someone mention that stockpiling food and toiletries might be a good idea, it’s not just because they’re watching a “Doomsday Preppers” marathon. I mean, they might be, but that’s not why creating your own grocery stockpile is a good idea. Building your own stash of food and toiletries keeps you prepared for natural disasters and financial crises, and lets you take advantage of stores’ normal sale cycles.

[More]

(This Year's Love)

If You’re Unhappy & You Know It, Keep An Eye On How You Spend Your Money

Pick your head up out of that pint of Ben & Jerry’s and step away from the online sales you’ve been clicking through to fill that hole in your heart. A new study claims that when you’re down in the dumps, sad or otherwise singing the blues, you’re more prone to make silly decisions about your money. And come on, you don’t really need another pair of black boots. [More]