Sally Villarreal

Regular readers of Consumerist likely know there’s a big difference between the “use-by” date and the “sell-by” date on food labels. But while most people take note of this information on highly perishable items like meat, eggs, and dairy, we often ignore those dry goods stashed in our pantries. And these unrefrigerated items are often allowed to sit around until we go to use them and realize, “Oh no… that went bad back when Bush — the first one — was president.” [More]


What To Do With Your Pet’s Poop

A typical dog creates three-quarters of a pound of poop every day, or 274 pounds a year, according to the EPA. (I’d guess my pups are far over that estimate.) And how’s this for scale? In the two cities of Fairbanks and Anchorage, Alaska, pups produce an estimated 20 million pounds of poop each year, while 200 million tons of kitty litter goes into landfills nationwide. You may not think the topic polite, but the reality is that all pet owners need to come up with options to manage their pet’s poop. So what’s the best way to deal with the stuff? [More]

How Long Should I Hold On To My Old Bills & Other Documents?

Thank goodness for electronic billing, bill-pay and account access. The digital world can help you save time, be more organized and cut down significantly on paper… Significantly — but not completely. [More]

10 Tips For Getting Rid Of The Junk In Your Life

Whether you’ve already done your spring cleaning or you’re still avoiding it, your home probably has lots of stuff you don’t need anymore — Junk. Stuff. Crapola. Where to get started separating the keepers from the junk? [More]

How To Not Suck At Picking A Father’s Day Gift

Two weeks go to go until Father’s Day. Odds are you haven’t gotten pops a gift, but what to buy? Let’s be honest. Your dad probably doesn’t need another tie or paperweight. And he probably doesn’t want new tools or personal hygiene products. [More]

How To Not Suck At Booking A Vacation Rental

For many, summer means renting a vacation home. Perhaps you dream of a week at the beach or some quiet time at a secluded lakeside cottage deep in the woods. Whatever your vacation fantasy, don’t let your excitement for some time away lure you into making a major vacation mistake. [More]

How To Not Suck At Making The Transition From School To The Real World

All around the country, people who’ve never had a full-time job or paid their own way are going to be pushed out of safe bosom of school. Maybe you’re one of them. Well, now that you’re done with your cap and gown and you have a diploma in your hand, it’s time to join the rest of us in the real world. [More]

How To Not Suck At Spring Cleaning

The birds are singing. The flowers are budding. Yup, it’s time for spring cleaning.

After a nasty winter, throw open the windows and let the sun shine in; but that’s just the beginning. [More]

(photo: Mike Matney)

Mother’s Day is almost here. The day to celebrate the woman who brought you into the world… Or to celebrate the woman who gave you children. Or both. Flowers are a lovely gift (in those instances where the recipient gets what you actually ordered) but they’re not exactly an original or personal gift and can be costly.

Here’s how to not suck at saying thanks to Mom with some frugal and creative ideas. [More]

10 Ways To Not Suck At Spending Your Tax Refund

Tax season is finally over, and hopefully you’re one of the lucky ones who is expecting a tax refund rather than one of those who has to send even more money to the IRS. But before you spend that money on a third 72″ LED for your yacht, there are several more sensible ways to use your refund. [More]

15 Things Everyone Needs To Know About Disability Insurance

This is the fifth and final post in a “How To Not Suck…” series on insurance. Previous posts looked at auto insurance, homeowner’s coverage, and life insurance, and long-term care policies.

Now that we’ve talked about insurance for your car, your home, your life and your long-term care, it’s time to consider how to protect your paycheck when something bad happens. [More]

15 Things People Of All Ages Need To Know About Long-Term Care Insurance

Welcome to the fourth installment in a “How To Not Suck…” series on buying insurance. Previous posts looked at auto insurance, homeowner’s coverage, and life insurance, and next week we’ll look at disability plans.

No one wants to think they’ll be unable to take care of themselves, but it’s likely to happen eventually, with one study saying there’s a 70% chance you’ll need some kind of care after age 65. Today, we’re thinking to the future. Long-term care insurance will help pay the bills should you need some kind of care, so you had better learn How To Not Suck… At Long-Term Care Insurance. [More]

15 Things You Need To Know About Life Insurance

This is the third post in a multipart “How To Not Suck…” series on insurance. Previous installments looked at auto insurance and homeowner’s coverage. Future posts will look at long-term care, and disability insurance.

If you make it through your house burning down and that car accident, you might think you’ve got a the nine lives of a cat. But those nine lives will run out eventually, so you had better learn how to not suck… at picking a life insurance policy. [More]

15 Things Everyone (Including Renters) Should Know About Homeowner’s Insurance

This is the second post in a multipart “How To Not Suck…” series on insurance. The first installment looked at the things you need to know about auto insurance, while upcoming installments will cover life, long-term care, and disability insurance.

Unless you’re a financial titan (or got your house on the cheap) your home is probably the biggest investment you’ll ever make, so don’t screw it up by not having the proper insurance. [More]


This is the first in a multipart “How To Not Suck…” series on insurance. Upcoming installments will cover homeowner’s, life, long-term care, and disability insurance.

Whether you just drove off the dealer’s lot in a shiny new vehicle or you’re puttering down the highway in an old clunker, you must protect yourself, others, and your two/three/four/eighteen-wheeled investment with auto insurance. [More]

How To Not Suck… At Going To Small Claims Court

There are times when you can’t convince a business to do the right thing. Or a dispute with your neighbor won’t come to a close. Or, well, stuff happens. When you try to reach an agreement with another party but you just can’t work it out, you might choose to let a judge decide.


How To Not Suck… At Buying In Bulk

Like most folks, we here at Consumerist love a good deal. The problem is that sometimes stuff that appears to be a big money-saver is actually a big money-waster.

How To Not Suck At Planning Your Wedding, Part 5: Spending Your Wedding Cash

Wedding Week on How To Not Suck reaches its fairy-tale ending. After looking at all the big expenses, the things that cost a lot but shouldn’t, the oodles of extras, and booking your honeymoon, we deal with the happy problem of what to do with any money you receive from guests.

There’s a good chance you’ll be showered with gifts on your wedding day. Perhaps you’ll get a crystal vase. Or a pasta maker. Or his-and-hers (or his-and-his, or hers-and-hers) monogrammed bathrobes. Or maybe you’ll get a whole lotta cash. [More]