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Weekly Update: Back-to-School Savings and More

Posted on 7/31/2015 16:20 EST

School is starting to creep back into everyone's consciousness as July comes to a close. Start preparing by taking advantage of early deals and finding what you need to furnish a dorm room on the cheap. Still, there's plenty of time to revel in the last days of summer. Have you checked off everything on our list of 25 things to do? Also on the Cheapism blog this week: bizarre money-saving techniques, shopping at the farmers market, and more. Read More

What to Buy in August

Posted on 7/31/2015 9:05 EST

August is all about back-to-school deals. Even frugal shoppers without school-age kids know they can find big discounts this month on items such as laptop bundles and home office supplies. This is also the beginning of the end of summer, so August bargains include seasonal products. If your lawn mower has mowed its last, for example, add a new one to your list and buy it now. Cheapism.com identified a variety of items you'll find at cut-rate prices this month. Read More

6 Ways to Save on Essential Oils

Posted on 7/31/2015 8:47 EST

Essential oils are used most commonly for minor therapeutic purposes, from soothing an upset stomach to boosting energy to alleviating pain to inducing sleep, and so on. For consumers who abide by the oils' perceived powers, taking the cure requires no small investment. One 15ml bottle can run anywhere from $10 to nearly $100, with the average price hovering around $20. The cost of a few bottles adds up quickly, which puts a premium on getting the most out of each drop. These tips can help. Read More

12 Chains Where Drink Refills Are Free

Posted on 7/31/2015 7:55 EST

Soft drinks, coffees, and teas are key money makers for most restaurants. Marked up significantly to maximize revenues, beverages manage to drain customers' wallets at the same time. Most cheap guides to dining out recommend that you stick to tap water, but if you're at an establishment that offers free refills, a relatively pricey order instantly turns into a value buy. Read More

25 Things to Do Before the End of Summer

Posted on 7/30/2015 13:31 EST

Summer ends Sept. 22, and although it seems like the season flies by, there's still time for summery activities. Take advantage of free and low-cost offerings in your area, and get some practical stuff done. Here are 25 things to do before the weather turns and the school year starts. Read More

Spending Diary: Why I Shop at Farmers Markets

Posted on 7/30/2015 8:02 EST

The first sign of summer, to me, is strawberries. I don't eat fruit out of season, and come April I am thoroughly sick of oranges. By the time the first week of June rolls around, I have a strawberry jones so great that I would pay a fortune for a basket of fresh, red beauties. But I don't have to do that. All I have to do is go to the farmers market, where the first harvest this year set me back $7 for a quart basket. I can easily eat a quart in one sitting, and I ate half on the way to the car. By contrast, strawberries in the supermarket at that time were $6 a quart, with a special for a second quart at half price. Yes, the farmers market was more expensive, but there's no comparison in taste between those grown locally and those shipped thousands of miles from California. Read More

50 Tips for Back-to-School Savings

Posted on 7/29/2015 16:46 EST

American families plan to spend an average of about $630 this year on back-to-school expenses for kindergarten through high school kids, according to an annual survey by the National Retail Federation. Lump in college students, and total spending is projected to reach $68 billion. Cheapism.com has compiled a list of top savings tips to help shave some expenses in the months ahead. Read More

13 Steps to Painting a Room Like a Pro

Posted on 7/29/2015 8:38 EST

The easiest and cheapest way to renovate a room is to paint it, but hiring a professional can still cost $300 to $400. Homeowners can do the same job themselves for about $150. Sure, there's more to painting than just picking a color and slapping it on the wall. It's best to take a day to prep before you start to paint, for example; you want walls to be in the best possible shape before they see a new color. But with the proper prep work and a few tips, a DIY job can look perfect and last for years. Read More

How to Furnish a Dorm Room on a Budget

Posted on 7/28/2015 10:30 EST

After paying for books, not to mention school itself, there isn't much left over for dorm room décor. But consider this a lesson in practicality: Once May rolls around, everything in the room must be cleared out, which is a giant incentive to decorate on the cheap. Many retailers are now running “back to college” specials. Here’s where to find 10 dorm room essentials on a budget. Read More

8 Free Online Tools to Help You Prepare for Retirement

Posted on 7/28/2015 8:46 EST

Planning for retirement can be tedious and confusing, so much so that the task is often handed over to an expensive financial advisor. However, the increased popularity of financial technology services and associated online tools is prompting hundreds of startups and storied financial services companies to vie for new users. Cheapism.com identified a variety of free tools and services worth trying. Read More

10 Summer Side Dishes You Can Make From Your Garden

Posted on 7/28/2015 8:01 EST

There is nothing fresher than food that makes its way straight from the backyard to the dining room table. Get the most out of your vegetable garden and cut grocery costs by incorporating homegrown produce into as many summer meals as possible. Here are 10 simple side dish recipes that transform summer veggies into the star of the meal. Read More

14 Bizarre Things People Do to Save Money

Posted on 7/27/2015 9:30 EST

Cheapism.com has created and curated dozens of lists that share tips and tricks for saving money. But this post takes a different tack: highlighting things that probably aren't worth doing even if they save a little money. These behaviors hover right on the edge of being just too weird or downright gross. Read More

10 Places to Find Free or Cheap Summer Reads

Posted on 7/27/2015 8:46 EST

Henry James said the two most beautiful words in the English language are "summer afternoon." What better way to spend yours than lying in the shade with a good book? Now that we're almost 100 years removed from James, make that a good ebook. Most digital volumes retail for $9 to $15, but there are plenty of sources for cheap or free ebooks, as well as subscription services that open the door to all the ebooks you care to read for a small monthly fee. Read More

Price Survey: Walmart and Target vs. Auto Parts Stores

Posted on 7/27/2015 8:01 EST

New cars and trucks lose value as soon as they're driven off the lot, but owners who want to preserve a vehicle's remaining value can do so with a little tender loving care. This means changing the oil regularly and replacing parts as soon as necessary. Automotive parts and supplies can be expensive, though, and the specialty stores aren't necessarily the cheapest. To help vehicle owners save money, Cheapism.com compared the prices of eight common automotive products at AutoZone and O'Reilly Auto Parts with those available at Walmart and Target. The big-box stores beat out the auto parts retailers every time. Read More

Weekly Update: Offbeat Attractions, Best Swimming Holes, and More

Posted on 7/24/2015 15:31 EST

Summer wanderlust is still in full effect. Explore coast to coast with offbeat attractions and refreshing spots for swimming in every state. Or go global and seek out locales with breathtaking sunsets. Also new on the Cheapism blog this week: 10 ways to save $10 a day, best free Roku channels, buying a car at Costco, and more. Read More

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