Posted on 6/29/2011 11:01 EST
You know all that money you spent on nursing or medical school? You can make some of it back in the form of discounts for various products, services, and activities. We've put together a list of resources nurses and doctors can use to get discounts and save money.
AMA: American Medical Association members can save at Wells Fargo, Hertz, and other companies.
NursesUSA: Members of NursesUSA can get ski resort tickets for as little as $8, CityPASS discounts in various cities, $3 off the major movie cinemas like AMC, and up to 30-percent off tickets to 60 zoos and theme parks, such as Busch Gardens, Six Flags, and Sea World.
Aetna and ACS: Aetna has partnered with the American Cancer Society to offer up to 40-percent off books on cancer treatment and prevention. Eligible groups include nurses, doctors, and dietitians.
AMSA: American Medical Student Association members can get discounts at Bank of America, Choice hotels, and National and Alamo car rental companies in addition to other cheap items like mobile medical apps.
ASDA: If you're in school for dentistry, becoming a member of the American Student Dental Association can save you money on T-Mobile, GEICO, Kaplan testing products, Bank of America, and more.
Disney World discounts: Nurses can get discounts at the Swan and Dolphin Disney World resort hotel. Identification and a recent pay stub are needed at time of check-in. You can book by calling the resort directly at (888) 828-8850 and asking for rate code NURSE.
Homeopathic.com: This site offers discounts of up to 30 percent off books for health care professionals. Nurses and doctors can save big here. Perio.org: American Society of Periodontology members can get discounts on Hertz car rentals and FedEx shipping in addition to insurance program and bank savings, medical journal discounts, and more.
BirchhillHappenings: This site claims to offer "like" wholesale prices on items such as essential oils and aromatherapy products to massage therapists, spa owners, and various types of doctors. You must order online at the Minnesota-based site to cash in on the savings.
HerbalaProducts: Nurses and doctors can save up to 35- percent off. Health care professionals and pharmacies also can get in on the savings.
Jigsaw Health: Jigsaw Health offers wholesale pricing for health professionals.
Nature's Gift: Nature's Gift supplies 10-percent discounts to licensed health care professionals.
Theratape: Theratape, a major player in the field of taping products for rehabilitation and exercise improvement, gives discounts on products to licensed professionals in the health care field.
Car rental discounts: This web site offers info on available discounts from the major car rental companies for medical professionals belonging to a wide variety of associations. Groups include the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, which can get discounts at Alamo, and the Academy of General Dentistry, eligible for savings at Avis and Budget. Members of other professional organizations that include nurses and doctors can save as well.
Posted on 6/28/2011 16:03 EST
This past Saturday we went hunting for a cheap USB turntable as a good report card present for our 10 year old. We have been wanting to introduce him to vinyl records for a while now.
Cheapism recommended the ION or the Numark so we went on an electronics store prowl around Manhattan to find a cheap one. J&R were sold out and Best Buy only had pricier models but eventually we found a model we liked at The Guitar Center. The price tag was $95 and next to the price it said in big letters "Lowest Price Guaranteed!"
I took out my smartphone, and searched Google for the model number. The prices that were listed on Google started at $75. Since the location services on the phone were enabled, it showed that the model was in stock at a nearby store (B&H) for $75. I showed it to the sales guy and instantly got $20 off the price. It was even cheaper than ordering it online since we didn't have to pay the delivery!
Posted on 6/27/2011 16:29 EST
We've updated our reviews and recommendations of the best air conditioners and desktop computers.
For cheap air conditioners, we have several recommendations for less than $300, with the best picks including models by Kenmore, LG, and Frigidaire. The size of the room matters so measure before making a purchasing decision -- you need the right amount of air conditioner power to cool down the space. Larger areas, unsurprisingly, require more powerful -- and more expensive -- units. Capacity and cooling modes are some of the most important features to note; look for a model's ability to cool on sleeper mode, blow gently with a fan, and be programmed for specific times. In terms of energy efficiency, many users also favor air conditioners with the Energy Star seal. Noise, installation, and cooling ability are performance factors that pop up most often in user reviews, with one of the more heavily criticized models, the Friedrich CP08F10, struggling in the first two arenas. We also have some new info on the common features found in the best air conditioners.
Our review of cheap desktop computers includes recommendations in the under-$550 category. Two of the most important features to look for here are system memory and hard drive size, with more and bigger, respectively, being the goal. That said, 500GB of space and 4GB of RAM will suffice for most people. Cheap personal computers can generally perform all tasks the average computer user wants and needs to accomplish; playing 3D games is the exception. Most cheap desktops now run on Windows 7, which typically comes preinstalled. Our No. 1 pick, the Asus Essentio CM1630-05 (starting at $454.99), earns good reviews for having multiple USB ports, minimal bloatware, and a media card reader. Reports say the computer works fine when the user has multiple programs running. The Compaq Presario ranks at the bottom of the cheap computers list due to its slower central processing unit and less memory.
To learn more, check out our full Cheap Air Conditioners and Cheap Desktop Computers buying guides.
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It's tempting to go to the hilt when decorating and furnishing your baby's room, especially if it's your first-born. Major retailers peddle pretty -- and pricey -- cribs, dressers, wall hangings, and decorations that are hard to resist. But if you'd like to sock away some of that money for a college fund instead of top-of-the-line items, you can create a cheap baby nursery with tips from moms who have done it.
Cheap Nursery Furniture
Mom and Cheapism writer Raechel Conover was able to save on the bigger pieces of furniture. She got a really cheap crib off of Amazon and a deeply discounted changing table from Ikea because it was the floor model and the last available. A rocking chair and a bookshelf came as hand-me-downs from friends.
Mom and baby products designer Jennifer Porter of Satsuma Designs says a good way to make a cheap baby nursery that is also environmentally friendly is by taking on DIY projects with items you already have. Odds and ends brightened with no-VOC, semigloss paint can become accessories and decorations for the nursery. She also recommends getting furniture that does double-duty. An old dresser can work as a changing station and a coat stand can hold some baby clothes and accessories such as hats and blankets.
A Yahoo story dovetails with Porter's advice, recommending repainting old cribs, change stations, and rocking chairs with water-based paint.
Nursery Carpets, Window Treatments, and Bedding
For a rug, Raechel and her spouse had a local flooring company cut down and bind a large scrap of carpet. The result was much cheaper than an area rug from a retailer. Raechel found that buying bedding sets was more expensive than buying separately. She also received some bedding as shower gifts.
You can get creative in a cheap baby nursery with recovered throw pillows and window treatments, Porter suggests. You can update old sheets by sewing -- or finding someone you know who can sew -- ribbons around the perimeter. You can also use ribbon or wallpaper scraps to update lampshades for the baby's room.
Cheap Nursery Decorations
For Raechel, decorations mostly came as gifts from her shower registry as well, but she did get wall decals for the sports-themed nursery from Amazon, which had cheaper options and a wider variety.
"One idea I heard, though, is to save baby shower cards and frame them in frames from the dollar store or the thrift store -- anywhere you can find cheap frames -- for wall decorations," she says. "I might consider this if I have another child." Another idea is to frame scraps of a quilt or blanket.
Other ideas for a cheap baby nursery include sewing together discount wicker baskets to make a toy chest. You can also hang paper lanterns from the ceiling for an alternative light source and something fun for the baby to look at or hang a baby blanket on the wall instead of using it in the crib.
About.com recommends looking at garage sales (check out our blog post on finding yard sales in your area), thrift shops, and flea markets for baby furniture, or thinking outside the box and purchasing used or cheap adult furniture that can be painted or redecorated for the nursery. You can also use scraps of wood that have been sanded and painted for shelving. Stencil the walls instead of buying wallpaper. You'll only use many baby items for a little while, so try to get incredibly cheap and gently used items from other moms you know or through groups or swap meets.
What shouldn't you waste money on in your cheap baby nursery? Raechel says you don't need noise- or light-blocking curtains, as normal shades should work just fine. She also says to focus on function over cuteness. One way she accomplished this was by hanging shelves and storing stuffed animals on them. They serve as decorative items now, but they'll become toys as her son gets older.
More baby resources to try:
BabyCenter.com: Features deals and coupons on items for the nursery, diapers, and more. The community section also offers ideas for a cheap nursery.
Diapers.com: A BabyCenter.com affiliate, it provides additional shopping deals.
LovetoKnow.com: Has info on cheap baby cribs.
Stay a Stay at Home Mom: This mouthful of a website gives a lot of advice on making or buying cheap items for your baby. One article deals with making your own diaper bag.
PlanetGreen: This site has DIY ideas for the nursery.
HGTV: The popular home improvement channel also has some ideas for a DIY and cheap baby nursery.
Make Your Own Baby Stuff: As the same suggests, this site offers ideas for saving by making nursery and other baby items on your own.
DIYNetwork: More DIY ideas for the nursery.
MomAdvice: Articles on saving on the nursery and everything else for your baby.
Check out our guides for baby items:
Games and Puzzles
What are your tips for creating a cheap baby nursery?