holiday shopping

Amazon Deals: Save on Last-Minute Gifts

December 18, 2013
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Amazon Deals: Save on Last-Minute Gifts

Find out how Amazon deals can save you money on last-minute gifts. Believe it or not, Amazon.com has its own version of a dent-and-scratch room, which is where you can save the most.

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Double Cash Back on Black Friday

November 28, 2013
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Double Cash Back on Black Friday

Find out how you can earn double cash back on your holiday shopping this Black Friday. Best of all--you can do all your shopping from home!

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Stay Safe with Black Friday Shopping

November 26, 2013
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Stay Safe with Black Friday Shopping

Here are 3 tips to stay safe during Black Friday shopping--or any holiday shopping excursion you may have.

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Get Cash Back on Holiday Shopping

November 21, 2013
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Get Cash Back on Holiday Shopping

Are you getting cash back on your holiday shopping? If not, I've got two ideas on how you get gifts and earn cash back on your purchases.

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10 Tips for Holiday Shopping 2013

November 7, 2013
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10 Tips for Holiday Shopping 2013

Here are my 10 tips for holiday shopping to help you find the perfect present for anyone on your list. I created these tips in partnership with Family Dollar this holiday season.

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Popular Father’s Day Gifts

June 11, 2013
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Popular Father’s Day Gifts

Do you have favorite Father's Day gifts that you like to give? A recent survey uncovered some favorite gift choices--good to know if you're stumped on what to give dad for Father's Day (which is this Sunday, by the way).

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Creative Holiday Shopping Ideas That Save Money

December 20, 2012
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Creative Holiday Shopping Ideas That Save Money

Even this late in the holiday gift-buying game, there are creative ways that you can shop for the gifts on your list and still save money. I know this firsthand as I’m still picking up last-minute gifts, and I haven’t busted my budget yet. I recently spoke with Lisa Reynolds, Mom Saver-in-Chief at RedPlum, the couponing site, who is also an author and expert saver. She provided 5 tips on creative shopping ideas that save money. Full disclosure: I wrote the foreword of Reynolds’ book “The Best Savings Advice Every Received,” and she quotes my own advice from my...

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Last Minute Shopping Tips

December 18, 2012
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Last Minute Shopping Tips

Did you miss out on the Free Shipping Day deals yesterday? And now are you likely to wait until the last minute to get your holiday shopping done? While I try not to procrastinate too much on buying gifts, there have been years when you would have found me picking up gift cards at the local drugstore on Christmas Eve. In case you’re worried about how you’re going to get all your shopping done–with Christmas now only a week away–here are some last minute shopping tips from the folks at Shopathome.com. Some of these might even save you some...

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Teacher Gift Ideas

December 14, 2012
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Teacher Gift Ideas

Note from Leah: I wrote this post before the awful school shooting in Newtown, CT, happened. My heart goes out to the families there for whom which teacher gift to buy this year is the last of their worries. Every year in December I start getting emails from people wondering how they should handle gifts for their children’s teachers. (Remember: before I was a frugal-living expert, I’d spent more than a decade as a gift and etiquette expert.) In the past most questions focused on what to give. With the economy the way it’s been for quite some time,...

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How to Get Extra Holiday Money: 3 Tips

December 6, 2012
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How to Get Extra Holiday Money: 3 Tips

We could all use a little extra cash these days, right? And now that we’re into December, we could all probably benefit from finding some extra holiday money to spend on presents or to pay down debt. I recently spoke with Jeff Trachsel, CMO of NextWorth, a leading consumer electronics trade-in service, when he offered to share some tips with me on how you can bring in extra holiday money. I’ve taken Jeff’s tips and added in some of my own to provide some ways you might just find a few more bucks in your pocket–or bank account–this holiday...

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Regifting: To Regift or Not Etiquette

November 29, 2012
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Regifting: To Regift or Not Etiquette

What’s your opinion on regifting? In my mind it is perfectly OK, as long as the item you’re regifting is something you would have genuinely given to the recipient and it is still in good enough, brand-new condition. You don’t want to give away old used crap and call it a gift. In my mind regifting goes along with my notion of a gift closet–the actual, literal closet I have upstairs where I stash items for when I need a gift. The items in my gift closet are those that I’ve purchased on sale all year long and/or gifts...

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Holiday Flower Deals

November 27, 2012
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Holiday Flower Deals

The December holidays are the second most popular time to send flowers or floral arrangements to family, friends and loved ones. (Mother’s Day still continues to be number one, FYI.) Not surprisingly, choosing to send flowers during these popular times can often cost you an arm and a leg. I mean, have you ever purchased roses around Valentine’s Day? Tres cher! For Holiday 2012 flower purchases, I can help you out with some money-saving ideas. For starters in a recent “Deals of the Week” column I mentioned something called “Teleflora Tuesdays,” which Teleflora.com is offering through December 18th. That...

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Best Days to Shop for the Holidays 2012

November 20, 2012
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Best Days to Shop for the Holidays 2012

In my opinion the best day to shop for holiday 2012 deals is whenever you can find the best price on an item that you’ve had on your “to buy” list. Savings.com, online source for coupons, deals and expert shopping tips, has a more scientific way of determining the best day to shop. (Full disclosure: Savings.com is owned by the same organization that owns Valpak.com, the coupon company for which I acted as a spokesperson for a satellite media tour in 2012.) Savings.com analyzed more than 1.5 million deals from 25,000 retailers and polled leading consumer and shopping experts,...

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6 Free Gifts from Vistaprint

November 12, 2012
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6 Free Gifts from Vistaprint

For a limited time (though I don’t know how long) Vistaprint is offering 6 free, customizable gifts. Choose from holiday cards, photo calendars, mugs, t-shirts, business cards, and tote bags, sticky notes, and small stamps all for free—just pay for shipping and processing! And as a bonus, you can also get sticky notes and small stamps for free! Shipping Starting Price: · Holiday Cards: starts at $5.23 · Desk/Wall Photo Calendar: $5.23 · Mug: $5.78 · T-Shirts: $5.99 · Business Cards: $5.99 · Tote Bag: $5.26 · Sticky Note: $4.77 · Stamp: $5.99 As I mentioned I don’t know...

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1 Day Left on Shutterfly Photo Book Offer: Save 67%

October 25, 2012
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1 Day Left on Shutterfly Photo Book Offer: Save 67%

A number of my relatives love giving custom photo books as holiday gifts. Because I’m so terrible about taking pictures of my children, I never have enough pictures to make a calendar, let alone a whole book. But maybe you’re different. If you like creating and giving photo books, you have one day left to take advantage of this Shutterfly Photo Book offer. Available through Groupon, you’ll spend $10 for a photo book worth $30. That’s a 67% savings! And this isn’t your mother’s photo album we’re talking about. Shutterfly photo books are hard cover works of art. These...

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Christmas in August Sale

August 23, 2012
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Christmas in August Sale

Forget Christmas in July. You can enjoy the “Joy of Christmas Sneak Peek” on the QVC website all day today, Thursday, August 23rd. You know, Christmas is less than four months away–or there are only 123 days until Christmas Eve, which, conveniently, falls on a Monday this year! If you’re a QVC shopper–and I know my mother in law is–you’ll want to check out the new, best sellers and select offers over on QVC.com! (These offers come through one of my affiliate networks.) Plus, all clearance-priced Christmas items will be available on 4 Easy Payments when you shop with...

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4 Free Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

May 7, 2012
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4 Free Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

  Are you a big spender on Mother’s Day? According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), many Americans are. The NRF’s 2012 Mother’s Day consumer spending survey conducted by BIGinsight says that the average person celebrating the holiday is expected to spend $152.52 on gifts, up from $140.73 last year. Total spending is expected to reach $18.6 billion. If you don’t quite have that kind of budget for a Mother’s Day 2012 gift, I think you’ll like these 4 free Mother’s Day gift ideas that I stumbled across. They are courtesy of the Gold Eagle Company. Get the garden...

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Easter Sunday Coupons and Closures

April 7, 2012
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Easter Sunday Coupons and Closures

There are seven weekends throughout the year when newspapers don’t bother with coupon inserts, and all seven weekends are tied into one holiday or another. This weekend–April 7th and 8th–is one of those weekends because of Easter. I’m not exactly sure why coupon companies have chosen not to send out coupons on the same weekend as a holiday, but to my way of thinking, people are usually home with family–and possibly reading the newspaper–on those weekends. So wouldn’t you want to have those coupons at the ready? (Later on I’ll outline the other holiday weekends when you shouldn’t expect...

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VIDEO: Holiday Shopping Tips

December 17, 2011
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Enjoy some of my holiday shopping advice, courtesy of ING Direct, FedEx Office, Nextag.com, and Microtel Inns and Suites. FYI, as a follow up to the advice I offer, my mother ended up shipping her gifts to us here–rather than take them in a checked bag–and it cost half what a checked bag costs to send that box to my house. And it’s already here. Now she can take carry on luggage and save baggage fees all together. Also, thanks to Nextag I discovered that Zappos.com and Lord and Taylor had the best prices/selection on Ugg boots. Now to...

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Teacher Gifts: 2011 Version

December 15, 2011
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Each year I write a blog post on how you’re supposed to handle teacher gifts at the holidays. I’ve even covered this topic for some of my clients, including the National Education Association‘s website. This morning I heard a story on NPR that Alabama has a law that pretty much makes it illegal for teachers to accept gifts from their students. It was a law designed to prevent “pay for play” situations in state government, but because the law is so vague, it has trickled down to the classroom, where teachers are afraid to accept a $10 Starbucks gift...

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Freebie at Hickory Farms’ Kiosks

December 13, 2011
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Freebie at Hickory Farms’ Kiosks

I was at the mall this past weekend, finishing up my holiday shopping, when I walked by the Hickory Farms kiosk. I was hungry to begin with–a day of shopping with four teens will take a lot out of you–and then my mouth started to water as I checked out all the delicious yumminess to be had at Hickory Farms. Turns out you can make Hickory Farms a frugal gift this year–including a freebie. Here are some deals to consider: Buy 2 items and you’ll save $2 on individual items (sausages, cheese, mustard, crackers and mints) Buy 3 items...

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Last Day for Starbucks 12 Days of Sharing

December 12, 2011
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Last Day for Starbucks 12 Days of Sharing

(Sorry to my Suddenly Frugal subscribers that this post didn’t go live in time for blog posts by email. I realize you’ll be getting this a day later. Again, sorry.) Today is the last day of the Starbucks “12 Day of Sharing” and, in my opinion, is the best deal yet. You know what they always say about leaving the best for last. So what is December 12th’s deal? If you purchase a Starbucks tumbler ($19.95), you’ll get free brewed coffee at Starbucks for the entire month of January 2012. Of course, you’ll need to bring that tumbler with...

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Shop Small Business Saturday

November 26, 2011
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Shop Small Business Saturday

My plan is to help support businesses in my community by participating in today’s Small Business Saturday, sponsored by American Express. I’ve got a couple of favorite stores in my downtown where I plan to do some of my shopping, and I hope that plenty of other locals will be joining me. Not sure Small Business Saturday is worth your time or effort? Well, according to Dr. Joey Faucette, author of Work Positive in a Negative World: Redefine Your Reality and Achieve Your Business Dreams (Entrepreneur Press), there are three reasons to consider to shop small: Sixty-eight dollars of...

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6 Safety Tips for Your Money When Holiday Shopping

November 25, 2011
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Last year, holiday spending increased as more than 212 million U.S. consumers spent an estimated $45 billion in stores and online from Black Friday through Cyber Monday, according to the National Retail Federation. However, amidst the hustle and bustle, consumers may become vulnerable to one of the nation’s fastest growing crimes—identity theft. “Shoppers are often overwhelmed by the season’s tasks, so it’s easy for them to let their guard down, and thieves take advantage of this,” said Mark Springsteel, treasurer and director of financial services for AAA Arizona. Here are 6 tips to safeguard your personal information this season,...

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Buy a Gift Card, Get a Free Gift Card

November 25, 2011
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Many retailers are giving you free gift cards when you buy gift cards this holiday season. Other companies and stores are offering promotions that allow you to earn free gift cards. The folks at DealNews did a round-up of a handful of these holiday opportunities, which I’m reprinting here. Some of them I’d written about before in an earlier Freebie Friday post. If I come across additional opportunities, I’ll do a follow-up post. FYI, this post is in lieu of my normal Freebie Friday post. Happy shopping! MasterCard: Register your credit card, spend $200 or more online, and receive...

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Black Friday Cash Back Bonuses from Ebates

November 24, 2011
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Doing some Black Friday shopping online instead of fighting the crowds at the mall? Then you’ll want to be sure that you go through a cash-back portal first. My favorite cash-back portal is Ebates, where in the past year I’ve earned more than $100 on the online shopping I was going to do anyway. Ebates works like this: stores want to encourage shoppers to come to their online ventures, so they offer Ebates a “commission” for bringing in customers. Ebates then shares a portion of that “commission” with the shopper–thus the cash back. Normally, cash back is about 2%...

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5 Tips to Negotiate on Holiday Gift Purchases

November 22, 2011
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With gas and food costs rising this holiday, your budget may not stretch as far as you need it to. While the slow economy isn’t good news, it could work in your favor. Charles Lankau, a business professor and expert in negotiation at Wake Forest University, says consumers should be assertive about asking for discounts when shopping for just about everything this holiday season. (You may recall that I’d included Dr. Lankau’s tips in a similar negotiation post back in September. Much of the same advice applies, though he’s tweaked it for the holidays.) You might find retailers and...

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Gift Cards Hot Holiday Gift Option

November 21, 2011
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The National Retail Federation released results of its gift-buying survey today, and no surprise, gift cards came out on top as a holiday gift of choice. According to the survey, eight in 10 Americans plan to give a gift card as a holiday gift this year–up from nearly seven in 10 people last year. I know that gift cards make great teacher gifts, and, in my opinion, are always the right option for picky teenagers. (When in doubt go with an iTunes gift card.) However, if your budget is tight this year, you may be wondering how you can...

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GUEST POST: 15 Black Friday Myths

November 1, 2011
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GUEST POST: 15 Black Friday Myths

(Well, it’s the first day of November. With Halloween behind us, you know holiday shopping can’t be too far away. That’s why today I’m running this guest post from the folks at dealnews. This guest post addresses the myths and facts of Black Friday. Let’s call it MythBusters–Black Friday style!) Here at dealnews, our job is to help you get the best possible price for what you want to buy and to keep you from getting hoodwinked while you’re shopping. It’s with that in mind that we go into the holiday shopping season with some trepidation, because along with great Black...

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Enter the Free Shipping Gift Card Giveaway

October 26, 2011
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Enter the Free Shipping Gift Card Giveaway

Many of the ideas I get for what I write about on Suddenly Frugal come from what I can see people are searching for on the Internet–and then end up on my blog! Most recently it’s been free flu shots. I’m guessing that within the next few weeks, the searches are going to transition to free shipping–what with the holidays coming up and all. You’ve probably heard that lots of businesses will be offering free shipping this year, and I’d like to give you a jump on free shipping by giving you the chance to win a gift card...

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Suddenly Frugal on Better TV

December 7, 2010
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I was in New York last week to tape a segment with Better TV to talk about holiday shopping and spending. I thought you might enjoy watching this segment. I had a great time with host Audra Lowe! You might also enjoy (Note: Some offers may have expired)Why Millennials Have Become Suddenly FrugalAnnouncing Suddenly Frugal The AudiobookTaking Frugal Living Too Far

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Best Buys in December

December 1, 2010
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Best Buys in December

Check out my recent Home Goes Strong story on best buys in December. This story may provide some helpful tips if you’ve still got some holiday shopping to do–or you’re in the market for something nice for yourself. Also, Bargain Babe did a nice little review of my new book Toss, Keep, Sell!: The Suddenly Frugal Guide to Cleaning Out the Clutter and Cashing In.

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4 Ways the Postal Service is Sending Seasons Greenings

November 24, 2010
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4 Ways the Postal Service is Sending Seasons Greenings

Many people spend the days after Thanksgiving not only focusing on holiday shopping but also on their holiday cards. This year I thought it was really cool that the United States Postal Service was promoting how it can help everyone make their holidays a little more green without spending extra green. Here are the 4 ways the USPS is turning your seasons greetings into seasons greenings: Green Packaging The USPS is the only mailing and shipping company in the world to have earned Cradle to Cradle Certification for the environmentally friendly design of both its Priority Mail and Express...

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3 Ways to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle for 2010

December 29, 2009
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Right about now we’re getting ready to finish cleaning up from the holidays. Maybe you are, too–if you haven’t already. As you begin to collect your trash or put away your decorations, why not take a few minutes and think about stuff you used in 2009 that you can reuse in 2010? Not only will this keep you green, but it will save you green, too. Here are some ways you can do that: Reuse as many gift bags, bows, ribbons and sheets of wrapping paper as possible. Just today we had friends stop by for a post-holiday visit,...

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Countdown to a Frugal Holiday: 3 Last-Minute Savings Tips

December 21, 2009
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Christmas may be four days away, but you still have time to save big. Check out these three last-minute savings tips, courtesy of CouponShack.com, a leading online coupon site, which has lots of other ideas on ways to save on holiday shopping this year: 1. Benefit from the price wars – Dell and HP are having a huge personal consumer battle, and you, the consumer, could come out the winner. For example, Dell just dropped its netbook price to $279. In addition, the ongoing war between Amazon and Walmart keeps getting better. Amazon just lowered the price on The...

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Practical Gifts for the Older Folks on Your List

December 14, 2009
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I was thinking about Dear Abby last night when I heard Adam Sandler’s classic Chanukah song on the radio. (We got Ann Landers and her sister Dear Abby/
Harrison fords a quarter Jewish/Not too shabby! ) And then this morning I was reading her advice column in my paper. I wanted to give Dear Abby a shout out for some great gift advice: someone had written in about giving gifts for older family members and friends who don’t need more “stuff,” and she shared some terrific ideas that I thought the frugal folks here would appreciate. I’ve paraphrased some of...

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Countdown to a Frugal Holiday: Stocking Stuffers

December 10, 2009
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Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, chances are you’re going to need some “little” gifts at some point during this holiday season. It could be for a Secret Santa at the office, a small gift you’re giving in lieu of a tip or one of the eight nights of gifts you’re giving to your child on Chanukah. (When I was little, I got a small gift on each night of Chanukah. There never was one big gift to be had.) If you don’t already have a gift closet you can raid for stocking stuffer-like presents, consider some of these...

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Frugal Teacher Gifts for the Holidays

December 3, 2009
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Frugal Teacher Gifts for the Holidays

I did a story for the National Education Association’s website on how teachers and other educators should handle gift giving in the classroom during the December holidays. While that story was written from the educator’s perspective, I thought it would be helpful to offer some advice from the parent’s perspective. Here are some quick and frugal teacher gift ideas, broken down by age of your kid/level of school he/she is in. DAY CARE A gift card to a nail salon where day care teachers and the classroom aides can get a manicure is a great idea. You figure that...

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Countdown to a Frugal Holiday: Decorative Lights

November 30, 2009
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Countdown to a Frugal Holiday: Decorative Lights

So what are the chances that you began decorating your house for the holidays right after Thanksgiving? I know that many families go out and get a tree once the turkey is eaten and the dishes cleaned, and if you’re one of them, here’s some food for thought: one of the biggest energy hogs at the holidays is your holiday lights. In addition, these lights can pose a fire risk. So let’s say you’re in the market for new holidays lights: here are four ideas that show how going green with your holiday lights can save you green: For...

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Tipping in Today's Economy

November 24, 2009
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Last year I chose not to give out tips to the individuals I normally would have tipped at the holidays–trash collector, postal service person, newspaper delivery dude–as a way to save money. I even avoided getting a haircut–or getting my kids’ hair cut–near the holidays so I wouldn’t have to add in a big tip to the 20% I already give. Seems I wasn’t alone in being somewhat Scrooge about tipping last year. According to the Consumer Reports National Research Center, during the 2008 holidays, fewer people than in the previous year tipped their newspaper carrier, barber, mail carrier,...

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