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Tips on Buying French, Italian and other Imported Wines

By (view all posts by HSimas)
at 3:16PM Tuesday April 13, 2010
under Shop Smarter

For most Americans, buying foreign wine is approximately 1,000 times more complicated than buying wine from the good old USA. Here on home soil, wine labels are fairly straightforward about telling you who made the wine and what's in it. But venturing into the Old World wine aisle can get confusing, to say the least. Every country has its own wine classification system and rules and laws about what goes on the label where.

And just about nobody is kind enough to tell you exactly what's in that bottle.

Read More »

Cohabitation: Home Decorating Ideas for Couples

By (view all posts by CouponKate)
at 4:41PM Monday April 12, 2010
under Shop Smarter

Ah, love... that indescribable force that makes you forgo everything on your "Ultimate Partner" list, leave your friends, family, practically everything you know behind, just for the chance to create that life together, to share everything…even the furniture.

Eeeek! Read More »

The Frugal Family: Online Shopping Tools Make Gifting Easy

By Guest Blogger(view all posts by Crystal.Ritchie)
at 9:47AM Monday April 12, 2010
under Shop Smarter

My family isn't large, but I have a lot of friends and many of those friends have children. As I get older and all the families around me keep expanding, the number of people I buy birthday or holiday gifts for keeps increasing. Naturally, I have trouble keeping track of all the dates and have sought out new ways to stay organized. Amazon has several great tools that help me in this quest. Read More »

Outdoor Furniture: Tips for Personalizing Your Patio

By (view all posts by CouponKate)
at 1:57PM Monday April 5, 2010
under Shop Smarter

I have this fantasy that someone with authority--Homeland Security or maybe Martha Stewart--puts me in charge of confiscating and destroying all white plastic lawn furniture.

Seriously, we have to find a resting place for this eyesore. Now I know they are a great convenience at parties, as they can be easily thrown in the pool or under a hose to wash off those nasty beer spills and hot dog relish, but I must warn you: I'm on a Search and Destroy mission, my friends.

Step away from the plastic chair! Read More »

The Tech-pert: 5 Tips to Get the Best Netbook Deal

By Guest Blogger(view all posts by Rick.Broida)
at 9:02AM Saturday April 3, 2010
under Shop Smarter

The Apple iPad is all the rage right now, but netbooks are still flying off the shelves. Know why? Because they do a lot more and cost a lot less.

Indeed, as evidenced by my earlier post this week, you can buy a very nicely equipped netbook for as little as $250. The entry-level iPad: $499. Okay, but what should you look for when choosing a netbook, and how can you make the most of it?

Here are five rules (Okay, guidelines...) to follow: Read More »

Be a Good Coupon Spender: Coupon Fraud and Other Coupon Usage Tips

By (view all posts by joligirl123)
at 12:32PM Friday April 2, 2010
under Shop Smarter

Using coupons to cut costs and save money during rough economic times?  Here are a few key "How to Be a Good Coupon Spender" guidelines:

Spend Coupons Ethically
  • Coupons have expiration dates for a reason! Manufacturers make coupons available for specific periods during a specific campaign.  Don't try to slip an expired coupon through just because you're using a self-checkout or you don't think the cashier will notice.  **If you have a special circumstance and you really want to spend that expired coupon, ask the store manager for permission first.
  • Don't make copies of coupons. This is FRAUD.  Many stores have such strict coupon acceptance policies because people try to cheat the system and make fraudulent coupons.  This is the same as stealing.
Read More »

As Seen on TV Products: Worth the Money?

By (view all posts by HSimas)
at 11:56AM Tuesday March 30, 2010
under Shop Smarter

You've all seen the commercials, probably in the middle of the night. Incredibly handy products for impossibly low prices. Products that until that very moment, you had no idea that you couldn't live without. Call now!

I speak, of course, of As Seen on TV products. After being yelled at by Billy Mays (rest his soul...) repeatedly and sitting through one too many nights of infomercials, I got to wondering- do these products actually work? Are they worth the money? After all, whether something costs $19.95 or 95 cents, it is a waste of money if it doesn't do what it's supposed to. I decided then and there that someone needed to get to the bottom of this mystery. Someone with the hard-hitting investigative chops needed to get to the truth, no matter how ugly. Unfortunately, no one resembling that was available, so I slapped on a Snuggie and tested three of the more popular As Seen on TV products myself.

Are you humming the SlapChop remix yet? Check out my results below! Read More »

Weird Fashion Trends: Fashion Faux Pas You Don't Want to Make

By (view all posts by coupiedoll)
at 3:06PM Wednesday March 24, 2010
under Shop Smarter

Let's face it, not every fashion trend can be a hit. Although, we can usually learn from our fashion mistakes. Think Madonna's cone bra, the whole idea of latex and shoulder pads. What were we thinking?

In honor of our best and worst fashion faux-pas, I thought I'd examine some of this year's trends to just skip all together.

So put your wallets away, and just avoid these at all costs: Read More »

Wines that Rock: Little Known Best Wine Picks

By (view all posts by HSimas)
at 2:42PM Tuesday March 23, 2010
under Shop Smarter

You're not going to believe this, but there are people out there who know more about wine than I do. Seriously! I recently had the pleasure of talking to one of those people: Gwendolyn Wilson Osborn, Director of Wine at We discussed several topics. The one closest to my heart would have to be the value of wine ratings. We agreed that scores from top critics are excellent guides to picking out a good wine, but they shouldn't be the be-all and end-all when it comes to wine shopping. There's nothing like discovering a nearly-anonymous diamond in the rough all on your own, or with a little help from your local wine merchant or wine-loving friend.

With that in mind, I got Gwendolyn to answer a few questions about finding those not-so-publicized, possibly un-reviewed wines. As expected, she had some great information to share. Read and learn, readers and learners! Read More »

The Frugal Family: Benefits of the Virtual Grocery Store

By Guest Blogger(view all posts by Crystal.Ritchie)
at 10:25AM Monday March 1, 2010
under Shop Smarter

To continue last week's discussion on When Shopping and Kids Don't Mix, let's discuss a topic a few readers mentioned:  grocery shopping. For those who have gone the online grocery shopping route, you know it saves time, money, and the few shreds of sanity parenting has left behind.

For those who haven't tried it, let me regale you with reasons why I love online grocery shopping. Read More »

Gaming and the 2010 Winter Olympics

By (view all posts by GuyCopes)
at 10:51AM Thursday February 25, 2010
under Shop Smarter

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee're baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

Here we are again, your intrepid philosophers of the gaming-verse, here to show you the way once again to gaming nirvana. This week, Yasar and I want to share our picks for the perfect games to put you in that Olympic spirit. If you're as caught up as we are in the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver (Go USA Hockey!), then you are no doubt thinking, "How can I extend my love of the games beyond the measly glimpses NBC gives me?" Fear not, for we have the perfect games to help you simulate your own quest for gaming gold. Or silver or bronze if you play games as badly as Yasar does.

Here now, the best games to go along with the 2010 Winter Olympics: Read More »

The Frugal Family: When Shopping and Kids Don't Mix

By Guest Blogger(view all posts by Crystal.Ritchie)
at 10:11AM Monday February 22, 2010
under Shop Smarter

As a parent, the idea of visiting a store or shopping mall in person is more of a source of stress than a pastime for me. I try to keep a list of items I need to purchase but, in my rush to get out the door with my kid and his diaper bag in tow, I often forget the list at home. Once in the store, I wait in long lines brooding over the lack of open registers while my three year-old tries to climb the shelves or hide under clothing racks. I don't want to lose my place in line and make the trip take even longer, but I just know that whole shelf is going to crash down on my kid's head if I don't do something STAT.

Add whispers and eye-rolling from the kid-less folks in line, and it's no wonder I avoid leaving the house. Read More »