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Best Cheap Chips and Salsa: A Blind Taste Test

Posted on 4/29/2016 9:25 EST

From Cinco de Mayo to the NBA playoffs to the series finale of "The Good Wife," there are countless occasions to get friends together and break out an easy snack of chips and salsa. Cheapism.com recently rustled up 13 inexpensive tortilla chips and 11 cheap jarred salsas for a blind taste test. An eight-person panel of volunteers considered taste, texture, and appearance in choosing their favorites. Here are the top picks among white, yellow, and blue corn chips, along with four preferred salsa pairings. Read More

In Full Bloom: Gorgeous Botanical Gardens in All 50 States

Posted on 4/28/2016 9:45 EST

A garden in bloom is a picnic for the senses, and an escape from the hustle of daily life. Every state has at least one garden that is free or less than $10 for adults (usually with cheaper admission for children, seniors, and the military). Many are botanical gardens dedicated to education, research, and conservation. A visit can be a learning experience, providing ideas for creating a plot at home. Many public gardens offer classes and workshops that teach gardening techniques and stewardship of a patch of earth -- as well as related activities such as meditation and photography. Some public gardens offer concerts, art festivals, and other events. No matter what the occasion, these gardens offer enjoyment and respite across the country. Read More

13 Things to Buy or Not to Buy in May

Posted on 4/28/2016 9:00 EST

As the warm weather moves in and the school year winds down, May is the time to stock up ahead of summer celebrations. Prepare for graduation parties and Memorial Day barbecues by finding deals on household goods and entertaining essentials, among other bargains. Read More

21 Surprisingly Expensive Products From Costco

Posted on 4/27/2016 9:30 EST

Costco is known for free samples, cheap hot dogs, and low prices on bulk purchases. However, Costco sells some surprisingly expensive products, as well. Even if they are a relative bargain, a few are pricey enough to wipe out some shoppers' savings. Read More

16 Quick, Easy Side Dishes for Summer Parties

Posted on 4/27/2016 8:45 EST

Summer is the season to host rooftop parties and backyard barbecues. Rather than shy away from feeding big groups because of the expense, try some quick and easy dishes made from inexpensive ingredients. Combining the bounty of the season with cheap staples allows for full menus of party-friendly finger foods and dishes designed for grazing. Here are 20 ideas for summer party foods to inspire a warm weather shindig on a tight budget. Read More

13 Underrated Retirement Destinations

Posted on 4/27/2016 8:00 EST

As retirement nears, many people make lists of possible locations for their golden years. Some even look outside the country to take advantage of the currency exchange and other benefits, although that presents challenges. Plenty of U.S. locales are getting buzz on retirement-focused blogs and forum postings but little attention as top destinations for retirees. Cheapism.com compared indicators such as cost of living and median home prices in these locales against the national averages, as reported by Sperling's Best Places, to come up with 13 destinations that deserve a closer look. Read More

12 Cheap Tequila Cocktails to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

Posted on 4/26/2016 9:30 EST

Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for the fifth of May) commemorates Mexico's victory over France at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. In the U.S., Cinco de Mayo has evolved into an occasion featuring parades, mariachi music performances, street festivals, and cocktails made with tequila, said to be North America's first distilled beverage. To celebrate, create versions of pricey restaurant and craft bar drinks at home for a fraction of the price. Better ingredients make a better product, but there's no need to buy premium tequila that is destined to be mixed. A good place to start is with 100 percent agave tequila from Cheapism.com's list of best inexpensive tequilas. With a few other fresh ingredients, including seasonal fruits and simple syrup, a wide variety of fresh and tasty drinks can be concocted for a just a few dollars each. Salud! Read More

10 Cheap or Free Ways to Get the Entire Family in Shape

Posted on 4/26/2016 8:45 EST

Summer is just around the corner, which means it's the perfect time to get the family in shape. Fun activities that get everyone moving can be easy to find but often expensive. Try these low-cost (or free) family-friendly activities instead to boost everyone's energy, bond as a family, and get fit at the same time. Read More

10 Tricks to Updating Your Wardrobe at the Thrift Store

Posted on 4/26/2016 8:00 EST

Thrift store shopping has always been popular among frugal consumers, but in the past few years more people seem to be browsing. The hipster look and even pop culture moments such as the Grammy-winning "Thrift Shop" by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have made thrift store shopping, well, cooler. So how can shoppers make the most of thrift stores this spring? Read More

12 Tips for Smooth Travel With Kids

Posted on 4/25/2016 9:30 EST

Traveling with young children is one of the more stressful aspects of parenting. By the time the trip is over, parents may feel the need for a vacation from the vacation. Don't let meltdowns and mishaps derail a family trip. These tips can make traveling with kids cheaper, easier, and more fun. Read More

16 Foods to Freeze for Later (and How to Do It Right)

Posted on 4/25/2016 8:45 EST

Preserving food in the freezer can equal big savings and less waste. Especially for produce that has a short season, freezing takes advantage of optimal taste and low prices for months after harvest. This technique also leaves consumers free to stock up when shopping at bulk stores or when a favorite food goes on mega sale -- but only if they know what freezes well. Here are 16 foods that will happily take up residence in the freezer. Always label and date frozen foods as a reminder to use them in their prime and distinguish between similar-looking frozen packages. Read More

12 Tips for Building a Tiny Home You'll Love

Posted on 4/25/2016 8:00 EST

Downsizing is growing among people seeking to decrease their environmental footprint and declutter their lives. Enter tiny houses. Beyond simplifying lifestyles, the tiny house movement seeks to curb overcrowding, overconsumption, and overspending. The average cost of building a tiny house is $23,000, according to a survey by The Tiny Life. Tiny living isn't for everyone, but if extreme downsizing appeals to you, a tiny home could be your next do-it-yourself project. Here are 12 tips to help make it easier to adjust to a tiny house lifestyle, prioritize a budget, and make other important decisions before diving in. Read More

Weekly Update: Summer Getaways, Best Coupon Sites, and More

Posted on 4/23/2016 10:38 EST

With warm weather springing up all over the nation, now is the time to get outside and get in shape -- and give back to the community while you're at it. Now is also the time to plan summer getaways, from a treehouse escape to a national park adventure. Other stories you may have missed on the Cheapism blog this week: 2016's best coupon and deal sites, affordable countries for American retirees, and more. Read More

7 Cheap, Filling Dinners for Every Day of the Week

Posted on 4/22/2016 8:46 EST

To keep dinners cheap and easy, start by selecting a few staples, such as eggs, cheese, noodles, and bread, that can be used in many different ways. Then plan dinners for the week around these items, accounting for leftover ingredients from previous nights and knowing when to buy a little more of something for an upcoming dish. Choose meals that can be adapted for everyone in the family, so each person isn't eating something different. And choose dishes that are hearty enough to keep everyone from snacking a couple of hours later. A few minutes of planning can save time and keep the food budget within bounds. Here's a sample menu of cheap, filling dinners, including alternatives for picky kids. Read More

Best Budget Blenders Under $40

Posted on 4/22/2016 8:00 EST

It's hard to imagine Cinco de Mayo without a pitcher of margaritas, and the frozen drinks liven up any party. Aside from a plentiful supply of tequila, orange liqueur, lime, kosher salt, and ice, frugal hosts need a good blender to keep the cocktails flowing and the festivities humming. Cheapism.com churned through countless online reviews to find the best cheap blenders costing less than $40. These small and relatively simple kitchen appliances are multitaskers in the food prep arena -- they chop, mix, and purée -- but they really stand out when called upon to blend frozen drinks. Read More

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