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Weekly Update: Earth Day, 50 Scenic Campgrounds, and More

Posted on 4/17/2015 15:01 EST

With Earth Day coming up on Monday, April 22, we turned our attention this week to the outdoors and the environment. We updated our guide to cheap compost bins with a new recommendation. On the Cheapism blog, we highlighted other ways to save the earth and save money at the same time, such as reusing or upcycling common household items and raising chickens for eggs. Readers who want to get up close and personal with Mother Nature can look to our roundup of 50 cheap campgrounds to find a scenic spot in every state. Read More

Dining Out vs. Cooking at Home: Which Is Cheaper?

Posted on 4/17/2015 12:06 EST

You can't beat the convenience of dining out. Having professionals prepare and serve your food is relaxing and eliminates the hassle of grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning up. On the other hand, there are many benefits to cooking your own meals. It's a chance to connect with the food you prepare, season it exactly to your liking, and do something nice for the people around your table. But which option is cheaper? With so many affordable casual restaurants, the cost of dining out can be surprisingly low these days. Cheapism.com took a closer look to find out if cooking at home actually saves consumers money. Read More

Top 10 Affordable Cities for Starting a Business

Posted on 4/17/2015 9:08 EST

When starting a business, keep in mind the old real-estate adage "location, location, location." For many entrepreneurs, this translates to Silicon Valley or Boston or New York City. These days, though, you don't need a VC firm down the street to secure funding, and there are a lot of other factors to consider. Chief among them: Can you afford to live while you get up and running? Cheapism.com looked at the cost of living, per capita income, education level, unemployment rate, and policy environment in the nation's largest metro areas to come up with 10 affordable cities for starting a business. Read More

14 Things to Know Before Putting Your Place on Airbnb

Posted on 4/16/2015 10:52 EST

If you have a room or second house to spare, you're sitting on a potential gold mine. So you should just post a rental notice and watch the money flow in, right? It's not quite that easy, but many people are earning extra income by listing their space on peer-to-peer rental marketplaces. Some even stay at a friend's house several nights a month while their home is rented out. Cheapism.com spoke with several hosts about the time and costs involved as well as the ups and downs of the experience. Read More

4 Best Low-Cost Compost Bins for Earth Day

Posted on 4/16/2015 9:00 EST

There are lots of thrifty ways to celebrate Earth Day, from hugging a tree to picking up litter to starting a compost heap. Composting turns kitchen and yard waste into economical fertilizer rather than landfill trash. Although it costs nothing to pile food scraps and coffee grounds in the backyard, many composters live in urban areas or prefer to buy bins to contain odor, keep pests away, and speed up the process. Cheapism.com recommends four highly rated compost bins under $50. Two are indoor bins for collecting kitchen waste and two are larger outdoor bins where the composting process happens. Read More

Your First House: 13 Tips for Saving and Buying

Posted on 4/16/2015 8:25 EST

The advantages of home ownership are many: building equity; tax deductions; the promise of appreciating value; and having a place that belongs to you. With mortgage rates at historic lows, this is an opportune time to take the big step. But first, make sure that homeownership is right for you. If you plan to stay in the home for at least five years and your monthly nut will not exceed 43 percent of your income, the federal Consumer Finance Protection Bureau says you can give yourself the "go" sign. Read More

Is Raising Chickens Cheaper Than Buying Eggs?

Posted on 4/15/2015 9:38 EST

With sustainability securing its place in the popular zeitgeist, raising chickens in the backyard holds a certain appeal. It conveys commitment to a lifestyle: the natural grooming of the landscape as the flock roams free, the peace of mind from knowing where your food comes from, and the general thrill that comes with money-saving self-sufficiency. Cheapism.com wanted to know whether it pays to raise chickens in the backyard -- for their eggs, mind you, not the meat. The answer, it seems, is a qualified "yes." Read More

21 Common Household Items to Reuse and Upcycle

Posted on 4/15/2015 9:17 EST

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the average American generates 4.38 pounds of waste every day. About 1.51 pounds of that is recycled or composted, but that leaves a lot of waste heading to the landfill. Many items can be reused or recycled right at home, and Cheapism.com identified 21 examples of common household goods with more than one life. Some items can even be upcycled -- recycled in such a way that their value increases. These projects might involve learning a new skill or using new tools, but most are fairly straightforward and don't require much of an investment. Read More

10 Things to Buy or Not to Buy in May

Posted on 4/15/2015 8:21 EST

As the warm weather moves in and schools let out for summer, May is the month to buy household goods and entertaining essentials. It's the perfect time for stocking up ahead of summer celebrations. Prepare for graduation parties and Memorial Day barbecues by finding deals to prep your food (cookware and BBQ supplies) and welcome your guests (party supplies). Read More

50 Scenic Campgrounds Under $20 in Every State

Posted on 4/14/2015 9:56 EST

Camp sites are getting expensive. Spend up to $50 a night and all you get are loud neighbors, a picnic bench, and a fire pit. Glamorous camping (aka glamping) might include cleaner bathroom facilities with flush toilets and hot showers, but the prices go up accordingly. Still, there are many campsites with cheap fees if you know where to look. Cheapism.com found beautiful and inexpensive sites across the country. And while you can always set up a tent in the wilderness and camp for free (check local laws first), the focus here is on tent camping at sites with toilets, potable water, and a maximum charge of $20 a night. Read More

10 Life Hacks to Save You Money

Posted on 4/14/2015 9:25 EST

Every year, new products pop up that seem important to buy, at least for a little while. It could be a banana slicer, a portion control basket for pasta, or a heated mousepad. Gadgets can be convenient, but many of them end up in the back of a drawer after a few uses. Instead of buying new gadgets, reuse everyday objects lying around the house. Try these life hacks to declutter your home and office while saving a few bucks to boot. Read More

A Complete Guide to Sending Mother's Day Flowers for Less

Posted on 4/14/2015 8:42 EST

The tradition of gifting flowers goes back thousands of years. The ancient Greeks associated flowers with gods, and in modern times, studies have shown that flowers have a positive effect on people. Flowers can bring cheer to your day, improve productivity at work, and telegraph "I love you" or even "I'm sorry." As Mother's Day approaches, it's worth noting that it beats out Valentine's Day as the second most popular holiday for flower giving, according to the Society of American Florists. And this gives rise to two common questions: Where to order flowers, and which type of flowers? Read More

How to Make the Most of Facebook Yard Sales

Posted on 4/13/2015 11:10 EST

Facebook tag sale groups are the hot way to buy and sell these days. With hundreds, if not thousands, of buy/sell/trade groups targeting everything from your town to your interests, they are proving far more convenient for buyers and sellers than traditional garage sales. Just click and buy exactly what you're seeking from your couch rather than drive all over town searching for bargains. Conversely, no more putting up and taking down your merchandise in the yard, and arguably higher returns; Facebook tag sale items rarely go for less than a dollar compared with pennies on some garage sale items. In short, a win-win for all. Read More

20 Sweet Motherís Day Gifts Under $20

Posted on 4/13/2015 9:35 EST

There is no one in the world like your mother. She gave you life and for that you should be eternally grateful. It's nice to show your mom how much you care all year long, but on Mother's Day it's especially important to show your love and appreciation. Here are some ideas for affordable gifts from the heart. Read More

Don't Miss These 10 Perks of Costco or Sam's Club Membership

Posted on 4/13/2015 8:46 EST

To make the most of a Sam's Club or Costco membership, smart shoppers partake in more than just the free samples. Wholesale clubs offer their members a host of free services and deals. Didn't take time to read the brochure? Here are 10 perks of warehouse club membership, whether you shop at Sam's Club or Costco. Read More

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