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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

11 Cheap and Free Museums for the Whole Family

Posted on 8/24/2015 8:00 EST

A day at the museum can be a relaxing and educational outing for a family, but many have entrance fees of $15 or more per person, even for children, and it adds up quickly. For families looking for free or cheap entry beyond the traditional visit to the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. -- which offers free access to national treasures such as the National Air And Space Museum and National Museum Of Natural History -- here are 11 interesting and unique museums across the country that charge admission of $10 or less. Read More

Weekly Update: Fall Shopping, Best Waterfalls in the States, and More

Posted on 8/21/2015 15:29 EST

Schools across the country are opening their doors again. Send kids back to class equipped with a cool yet budget-friendly backpack and lunchbox. Empty nesters with kids off to college can rejoice in an inexpensive getaway for two. We've compiled destinations for fall leaf peeping and waterfalls in every state. Also new this week: how to decode freshness dates on food, money-saving tips for fall shopping, how to spot a fake designer handbag, and more. Read More

10 Easy-to-Make Foods to Stop Buying at the Store

Posted on 8/21/2015 9:06 EST

Channeling your inner Martha Stewart to make some edibles from scratch has more benefits than just tastiness. The 10 foods highlighted here come prepackaged at the store but can be prepared more cheaply at home. Better yet, they are quick and easy to whip up in a home kitchen -- no exotic ingredients, equipment, or specialized skills required. Plus, flavors can be adjusted to fit personal tastes, so let your imagination run wild with new combinations. Read More

10 Ways to Save Money on Laundry

Posted on 8/21/2015 8:20 EST

Laundry drains time and money, whether it's done at home or at a laundromat. According to The Simple Dollar, the cost per load at a laundromat is more than $3, while the cost per load at home is 97 cents (not counting equipment costs). These tallies include travel (to a laundromat), energy (to run the washer and dryer), and water (in a home setting) but exclude the cost of laundry detergent and fabric softener. These necessary ingredients up the ante. Tide Original costs $14 at Amazon for 50 fluid ounces, which theoretically lasts through 32 loads of laundry and adds 28 cents to the cost of each wash. For 240 sheets of Bounce, Amazon charges $12, or 5 cents per sheet/load. Read More

Beyond Niagara: Waterfalls in All 50 States

Posted on 8/20/2015 10:34 EST

People travel thousands of miles to visit the world's largest and tallest waterfalls, but there are thousands of waterfalls throughout the United States that are easier and cheaper to enjoy. Tall, short, cascading, and plunging, they are often wondrous or delightful in their own right. Many of the waterfalls on this list are inexpensive to visit -- they're in state or national parks, or national forests, and entry costs $5 to $30 per vehicle for a seven-day pass. Entrance to national parks is free on Aug. 25 to honor the birthday of the National Park Service. Read More

15 Sneaky Ways to Make a Small Space Look Larger

Posted on 8/20/2015 8:00 EST

Can't afford more space"/blog/3782/decorating-ideas-for-small-spaces">Read More

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