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I pretended to be insane and Aaron's still offered me a loan

By Guest Blogger(view all posts by Grant.Pardee)
at 9:00AM Wednesday March 19, 2014
under Stuff We Like

Recently, we've been getting our collective rocks off making fun of Aaron's new "Max Your Tax!" ad campaign to bring in customers looking for ways to unwisely spend their tax refunds. As it turns out, companies like Aaron's and Rent-a-Center are in the Rent-To-Own industry, a service the government characterizes as a service of predatory lenders.

The way their business model works is they market themselves to low-income people with credit problems, let you walk out of the store with big ticket items without putting much down, then hope you are late on a payment by being difficult to reach in order to aggressively shake you down for late fees, sometimes even showing up unannounced at all hours of the night.

Before we go any further, let me clarify that I love free stuff. Free stuff is my lifeblood. I'm not taking any issue with free stuff. But it makes me vulnerable. The Rent-To-Own industry capitalizes on suckers like me who love free stuff as equally as we hate responsibility. Read More »

Finally, a mobile charger that's both smart and sexy

By Guest Blogger(view all posts by Rick.Broida)
at 12:00PM Tuesday March 18, 2014
under Product Review

Mobile chargers are kind of a hot category these days, which is understandable given the ubiquity of smartphones and their insatiable thirst for power.

To put it another way: your smartphone is always running out of juice, and always at the worst times (like when you need to make a call or you're about to finally beat that impossible Candy Crush Saga level).

I've seen mobile chargers in all shapes and sizes, many of them squeezing their way into card-size frames that can easily slip into a pocket, purse, or even wallet. But as cool as that sounds, they typically have ugly plastic shells and anemic batteries.

That's why I'm jazzed about the LithiumCard, which combines slick looks and smart design. It's currently seeking backers on crowd-funding site Indiegogo, but has already blown past its funding goals, meaning it's just a matter of time before it goes into production. Read More »

Why I gave up beauty products and started slathering my face with food

By Guest Blogger(view all posts by Megan.Koester)
at 9:45AM Monday March 17, 2014
under Money Saving Tips

I have adult acne. While I appreciate the fact that it keeps me young at heart, I resent that it keeps me shackled to my keyboard, endlessly researching new and innovative developments in skincare technology. I am by no means a rich woman; regardless, I treat each alleged breakthrough (usually presented in the form of an advertisement featuring a model in a lab coat) as an opportunity to open my wallet and scream "fix me!" at whatever corporation claims to have my best interest at heart. In spite of the thousands of dollars I've hemorrhaged on the cause thus far, I have not yet been fixed. Which is why, for a week at least, I've decided to give up on chasing this financially and emotionally draining dream.

Emboldened by tales extolling coconut oil as a miracle in a jar, I'll be using it as a cleanser. But why stop there? After all, facial products aren't the only things I waste my money on. My entire beauty routine, from head to toe, will therefore be 100% au naturel. My only rule? If it's edible, it's fair game. My reasoning behind this is simple–if I can buy it at the grocery store, I can use EBT to pay for it. Now, before you judge, dig this neat little theory I just came up with: If I look better, it'll give me the self-confidence necessary to pull myself up by the bootstraps, earn a decent-paying job and stop suckling at the government's teat. Really, I'm helping you, John Q. Taxpayer, help myself. Reagan would be so proud! (Style icon Nancy Reagan, I mean). Read More »

10 amazing wines that cost 10 bucks (or less)

By Guest Blogger(view all posts by Gabi.Moskowitz)
at 6:00AM Monday March 17, 2014
under Money Saving Tips

Americans are drinking more wine than ever before. Between the multitudes of studies linking a daily glass of wine with good heart health and the sheer enjoyment of sipping a nice glass of vino with a delicious meal, this is a good time to get into the grape scene. Even better, the influx of young adults who are getting into wine is leading winemakers to make consumption and enjoyment accessible to people with all budgets.

To find fantastic wines within your budget, head to your local Trader Joe'sBevMo or your favorite wine warehouse and start chatting up a sales rep. Chance are, the person in charge of the wine department knows a thing or two about their products. Let them know what you're looking to serve it for or with (ie: "I'm making pork chops and I'm looking for something to pair it with" or "I need a great, inexpensive sparking white to serve at an outdoor party"), as well as how much you're willing to spend (and be honest!). Really, if you don't want to plunk down more than $8 per bottle, say so. There really are fantastic options for every budget. Read More »

This St. Patrick's Day, don't lose your green to SUI

By (view all posts by Seth.Barnes)
at 6:00AM Saturday March 15, 2014
under Stuff We Like

On St. Patrick's Day, revelers will take to neighborhood parades, pubs, and house parties to raise a few glasses with family and friends. But don't toast just yet- for thousands of people, waking up on March 18th will bring with it the realization that their financial standing is toast. The culprit? Shopping Under The Influence. 

Most people will commit Shopping Under The Influence, or SUI, at some point in their lives. Simply put, SUI occurs when purchasing anything under the influence of mind-altering chemicals---a situation that occurs far more frequently than you might realize in our constantly connected world. Have you ever booked a flight online over morning coffee, or bought shoes on your iPad while cradling a glass of wine? Ever bought an app on your phone when your house has a carbon monoxide leak? Then you've shopped under the influence.
Read More »

Getty Images thinks giving away free photos will make them tons of money. They're probably right

By Guest Blogger(view all posts by Mike.Pearl)
at 11:20AM Friday March 14, 2014
under Freebies


If you're a blogger, you know the value of putting an eye-catching image at the top of every post. Wait, let me rephrase that: Are you a blogger who doesn't put an image at the top of every post? Stop it. Stop being so boring. The internet hates you. Now that Getty is giving millions of images away for free, you have no excuse to do that. Particularly not when they're being this liberal with their terms of use, according to GeekWire (emphasis mine):

"[...]f the use promotes a company, product or service, the users will need to purchase a license. If not, they can use the embedded content so long as they are happy to use it in the embed frame and functionality.

The presence of ads on a site doesn't automatically make use of an embedded image on that site a commercial use. Think about sites like CNN.com or any online newspapers or magazines which support editorial content with site ads. The key attribute in classifying use as commercial is whether the image is used to promote a business, goods or services, or to advertise something. If not, it is a non-commercial use. Likewise, corporate blogs would be treated as editorial/non-commercial unless the image is directly being used to sell or promote their products or services." Read More »

Office 365 Personal: Like regular Office, only crummier!

By Guest Blogger(view all posts by Rick.Broida)
at 12:34PM Thursday March 13, 2014
under Stuff We Like

Around this time last year, Microsoft made an interesting move with the latest version of its Office suite: Instead of buying it outright, you could subscribe to it, ostensibly getting more Office for less money.

Indeed, on the surface, Office 365 Home Premium seemed like an attractive deal: Licenses for up to five users/devices, 60 minutes of Skype calls per month, and 20GB of extra OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) storage--all for $99.

Ah, but what if there's only one of you? What if you don't need five licenses? Now you're paying extra for more Office than you're using. (I would argue that nearly everybody is paying extra for more Office than they need, but that's another story.)

For those lonely folks, Microsoft just unveiled Office 365 Personal, which lets you run the software on one PC or Mac and one tablet. Price: $6.99 per month or $69.99 annually.

Let's do some simple math, shall we? The traditional, single-user version of Office Home and Student 2013 costs $139.99, though you can pick it up for as low as $99.99 from stores like B&H. Read More »

So when did Warren Buffett become the weird Willy Wonka of basketball?

By Guest Blogger(view all posts by Grant.Pardee)
at 9:00AM Wednesday March 12, 2014
under Stuff We Like

Perhaps you've heard: Detroit-based Quicken Loans has joined forces with Warren Buffet and Berkshire Hathaway to offer a prize of One Billion Dollars (OBD) to any person who fills out a perfect bracket for March Madness.

My only dream in life is to win a preposterous amount of money in some insane contest. Well, alright, Warren, I hear you. I know this is your weird "Billy Madison" way of testing me to make sure I deserve the money. Calm down, I'll take your billion dollars. You're saying all I have to do is fill out some sports bracket about the hoppity ball? You know what, sorry to be so condescending. I know it's called basketball. I didn't need to exaggerate my ignorance. Read More »

#SpringSavings Twitter party- $300 in prizes!

By (view all posts by Allegra.Ringo)
at 5:50PM Tuesday March 11, 2014
under GiveawaysStaff

Spring cleaning: do people really do it, or is it all a huge conspiracy? Come find out, and share tips for making spring cleaning (if it is indeed real) as painless and frugal as possible! Plus, we have $300 in prizes to give away!

Join us on Tuesday, March 18th at 6pm PT/ 9pm ET in the #SpringSavings hashtag on Twitter!
Read More »

A watch that's smart enough to track your kids

By Guest Blogger(view all posts by Rick.Broida)
at 11:03AM Tuesday March 11, 2014
under Product Review

I can't imagine the horror of a child abduction. Yet here in the U.S., more than 800,000 kids are reported missing every year, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Technology to the rescue? The makers of the hereO child GPS watch hope so. Launching today and available for pre-order via crowdfunding site Indiegogo, the watch combines GPS and GSM technology to give parents some extra peace of mind. Read More »

Be the Hostess with the Mostess with Booze on a Budget

By Guest Blogger(view all posts by Gabi.Moskowitz)
at 9:00AM Monday March 10, 2014
under Stuff We Like

Hosting impromptu parties is a whole lot more fun when you already have the beverages on hand. With just a little good planning and some smart shopping, you can be mixing fancy cocktails in no time—all in the comfort of your own home and for less money than you think. I typically buy mid-range liquor brands for mixed drinks, reserving higher-priced top shelf liquors (which I pick up at BevMo, Trader Joe's or warehouse stores like Costco or Sam's Club) for drinking without mixers.

To stock your at-home bar on a budget, you'll need:

Vodka, Gin, Light Rum: $12-$18 for 750 ml.

These are the building blocks to nearly every cocktail—and the most versatile spirits to have around, making them extremely cost-effective.

Recommended brands: Seagrams (vodka and gin) and Castillo (rum). Read More »

Free music roundup: songs, albums, and samplers, oh my!

By Guest Blogger(view all posts by Rick.Broida)
at 12:27PM Thursday March 6, 2014
under Freebies

First things first: Are you a card-carrying member of your local library? (What? You're not? Did you know they'll let you take home all the books you want for free? Seriously,go grab yourself something to read. I'm about a quarter into Khaled Hosseini's "And the Mountains Echoed," and it's just outstanding. Or if you want something a little easier to digest, I couldn't put down last year's "Gone Girl." Did I mention you can get these andother books for free?)

Where was I? Oh, right: Are you a card-carrying member of your local library? Then you should know about Freegal Music, a site that partners with libraries to provide free MP3 downloads. Read More »