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Spending Diary: 13 Ways I Stick to My Grocery Budget

Posted on 8/31/2015 9:30 EST

Grocery shopping on a budget is tough for anyone, but throw in the fact that I usually shop with a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old, and the outing is hardly the most fun part of my week. Every month when we look at our budget, the supermarket is one place I think I can save more. At the same time, I'm picky about what I buy and where I shop; I strongly prefer to eat and feed my family organic and fresh foods. In general we spend roughly $150 a week on groceries, including all paper products and cleaning supplies -- and the four gallons of milk my two boys drink every week. Here are some tricks I use to try to limit grocery spending. Read More

Cheap Holiday Travel: How Early Should You Book?

Posted on 8/31/2015 8:46 EST

Whether you're planning to head home for the holidays, visit family, or take a vacation, the question of when to lock in cheap holiday airfare is always a hot topic. Rules and tips fly around the Internet faster than a Concord: Book on a Tuesday or Wednesday (maybe a good idea). Clear cookies or search in private browser mode (probably only matters when doing lots of searches in one day). Book X number of days or weeks before the flight (is 21 days enough? Or more like 60 days?). Read More

What Type of Dog (or Cat) Is Cheapest to Own?

Posted on 8/31/2015 8:05 EST

Although many people treat their pets as members of the family, they don't expect to spend on their furry friends the $300,000 or so that it takes to raise a child. Doing a little homework on the cheapest type of dog to own is good for the checkbook as well as for the animal. A pet will have a much happier life if its masters have sufficient resources to provide proper food, shelter, and care over the long term. Read More

Weekly Update: Cheap Travel, College Resources, and More

Posted on 8/28/2015 15:25 EST

With Labor Day less than two weeks away, get equipped to get back to the grind with morning beauty hacks and resources for cash-strapped college students. Not ready to face reality yet? This week the Cheapism blog goes to Berlin and explores hidden beaches in Asia. Closer to home, cheap and free museums make for a fun family outing before the kids head back to school. Read More

10 Off-the-Beaten-Path Beach Paradises in Asia

Posted on 8/28/2015 9:00 EST

Imagine an idyllic beach paradise: crystal clear water teeming with dolphins and exotic fish, waves kissing sand free of footprints, coconut palms swaying in the breeze, a hammock swinging lazily next to a bamboo bungalow. It's an appealing fantasy, and each year millions of people flock to the coastlines of Asia to chase it -- in Bali, Phuket, Fiji, and Boracay. Increasing masses of beachgoers have crowded and commercialized such destinations, and secluded stretches of sand are reserved for those who can afford a luxury resort with a private beach. But the vision of a pristine, secluded beach getaway with friendly local flavor (and low cost of living) is still accessible elsewhere in the region. Like all the best off-the-beaten-path destinations, the beaches on this list are not easy to reach. They require multiple steps by plane, bus, and boat, but the reward is untouched sand, surf, sun, and serenity -- and prices low enough to afford an extended stay. Read More

10 Beauty Hacks to Streamline Your Morning

Posted on 8/28/2015 8:02 EST

Who doesn't want to squeeze in a couple more minutes of sleep in the morning? With a few smart tips, it's possible to simplify a morning beauty routine and still look put together and ready for the day. Here are 10 money- and time-saving hacks that beauty experts swear by. Read More

15 Things That Do Not Affect Your Credit Score

Posted on 8/27/2015 9:00 EST

Employers, landlords, banks, credit card issuers, and other lenders often rely on credit scores to determine the worthiness of applicants. But many borrowers don’t know how their credit scores are calculated. The first misconception is that there’s a single score; most people have several. FICO scores are the ones most often used by lenders, but there are competitors such as VantageScore, which was developed in 2006 by the three major credit bureaus and is slowly becoming more popular among lenders. There are also different types of FICO scores and different sources for the information used in the calculations. Here are some things consumers might think affect their credit scores -- but do not. Read More

10 Resources Cash-Strapped College Students Should Be Using

Posted on 8/27/2015 8:04 EST

As any college student knows, the cost of tuition, books, food, housing, and basic expenses quickly reaches epic proportions. Even those fortunate enough to receive financial aid may find it hard to make ends meet. Given how much they're paying, beleaguered undergrads should take full advantage of all the resources available to help lighten the financial load. Read More

10 Ways Non-Members Can Shop at Costco

Posted on 8/26/2015 9:30 EST

When it comes to savings on household goods, groceries, and more, Costco has always been a winning solution in terms of slashing costs. Warehouse shopping is usually cheaper and Sam's Club, Costco, and the like provide exceptional membership benefits. But what if you don't have a membership? All is not lost. There are still ways to land discounts at Costco without paying the annual membership fee. Read More

20 Free and Cheap Things to Do in Berlin

Posted on 8/26/2015 9:20 EST

Reunited, eclectic, resilient -- Berlin is one of the liveliest and yet historically fraught cities in the world. There are plenty of budget-friendly things to do and see in this happening place. European travel expert Rick Steves writes in his 2014 guide to Germany that thrifty tourists can rely on $30 a day for entertainment and sightseeing. Visitors can probably do even better by sticking with free and cheap activities. Read More

10 Homemade Toys to Spoil Your Dog

Posted on 8/26/2015 7:45 EST

It's natural to want to spoil an unconditionally loyal and loving dog with a special treat or toy, but it doesn't have to come from the pet store. Many household items can be upcycled into dog toys to save money. By reusing old fabric, empty bottles, and a few other would-be trash items, dog owners can create an endless lineup of free playthings to keep pets active and amused. Just remember to never leave a pet unattended with a homemade toy. Read More

14 Ways to Identify Fake and Useless Reviews

Posted on 8/25/2015 9:52 EST

Whether they're looking for a good restaurant or researching the best headphones, many people turn to online reviews. Trust in the masses is the mantra, and the average star rating can make or break a business. Read More

Cutting Costs: 4 Top Lawn Mowers Under $300

Posted on 8/25/2015 9:15 EST

Half of American homes sit on lots no larger than a quarter of an acre, according to a Census Bureau survey. That means most homeowners don't need a heavy-duty, high-priced lawn mower or tractor. An affordable push mower is up to the chore, and with retailers launching end-of-season clearance sales, now is the time to find a deal. Cheapism.com researched cheap lawn mowers powered by gas, electricity, and old-fashioned elbow grease to find top picks for less than $300. Read More

13 Ways to Save on Renters Insurance

Posted on 8/25/2015 8:45 EST

Why do only 37 percent of renters have a renters insurance policy while 95 percent of homeowners have a homeowners policy? Partially because of misinformation, suggests a poll from the Insurance Information Institute, which found that some people believe their personal property is covered by the landlord's insurance or that renters insurance is expensive. Neither is true. A landlord's insurance covers only the building, and on average a renters insurance policy costs $187 annually. Read More

10 Things You'll Regret Buying Too Cheap

Posted on 8/25/2015 8:00 EST

This is a nation of bargain hunters, addicted to thrift, but there are times the cheapest option just doesn't make sense. An item is no bargain when it must be replaced often; when more must be used to do the job; or when the cost in aggravation exceeds the cost in dollars. Instead, look for discounts on high-quality items, and even try haggling. Whatever you do, don't scrimp on these 10 things -- you get what you pay for. Read More

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