Motorola’s Updated Moto G: Buy This Smartphone, Stupid


When I think about the old way of buying a smartphone, I want to throw up.

Traditionally you’d have to spend a couple hundred bucks on the hardware, then spend the next two years locked into a contract that could easily cost you $80, $90, even $100 per month.

Thankfully, the days of the contract are nearly over. But if you want a decent unlocked, unsubsidized smartphone–I’m looking at you, iPhone 5S and Galaxy S5–plan on paying anywhere from $500-700. Ouch.

But guess what? Motorola just took the definition of “decent unlocked, unsubsidized smartphone,” put it in the blender, and pressed Screw It. The company’s new Moto G is the single best deal in the history of smartphones.

Does It Pay to Fly Spirit Airlines?

Spirit Scratch

I fly a lot.

In the past seven months I’ve flown Qantas to Australia, Icelandair to Iceland, JetBlue to Florida and … drum roll, please …Spirit to Denver.

In case you’ve missed the news recently, Spirit isn’t exactly a luxury airliner — nor are they No. 1 in customer service. In fact, they’re dead last — drawing complaint rates that were more than three times higher than the second-place airlines from 2009 to 2013.

Here’s the thing though: The price was right. The available times worked out … and I had yet to read all the awful reviews the company consistently racks up. (And, for the record, has chalked up to simple misunderstandings.)

So, was it worth it? In my own personal opinion — yes, and here’s why.

You’re Probably Not a Good Tipper


You may think you’re always a great tipper, but you’re lying to yourself. I guarantee you’ve been a bad tipper in at least one of these situations. You probably don’t even realize how bad your tips are. That’s the worst thing about it. You’ve been going all over town thinking you’re a tipping champion of the people when really everyone thinks you’re a low tipping d-bag.

Don’t be a jerk. Tip people what they’re worth.

Happy Hours and Groupons
What You Should Tip: 20% of the regular price
What Bad Tippers Tip: 20% of the discounted price

Why Did I Buy This? with Grant Pardee: Drone Wars


Drunk dialing Amazon is a real problem. Sometimes you make purchases in the heat of the moment and then forget the transaction ever happened until the mail comes and you have a mysterious package waiting for you from Amazon that bears your name on it. Recently, I discovered that I had apparently purchased a consumer drone from Amazon. You can see my review below.

WhistleOut Helps You Compare Mobile Phone Plans


Got your eye on a shiny new HTC One M8? Looking for a new carrier for your out-of-contract iPhone? Want lower rates for your family’s four lines before they run you into the poorhouse?

Tricky stuff. Between the Big Four carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon) and the 20-plus little-guy offshoots (from AIO Wireless to Zact), you could spend days hopping around to different stores and sites, trying to find the best plan for you and/or you family.

Guess what? There’s a search engine for that: WhistleOut. Actually, it’s a “comparison engine,” designed to show you mobile plans based on your requirements.

Fast Food Value Menu Showdown with Josh Androsky


Every fast food says they have a “value” menu, but is it really a good value, especially compared to other major chains? I take five dollars to three of the country’s biggest fast food restaurants and see what bang I can truly get for my buck.

Director: Cassandra Lee Hamilton
Music: Cowabunga Babes

Happy Hour Secret Prices and Menu at Chain Restaurants


Chain restaurants are pretty secretive when it comes to letting customers know exactly how cheap their happy hour prices are. After all, if you knew you could fill up on the same grub for a third of the price at 6PM, why would you show up at 7?

Most times, it’s impossible to figure out how much a place’s Pineapple Explosion Fingers™ and Ranch Rum Runners™ are during happy hour than finding the nutrition information. And you know they hate telling you exactly how many calories are in their Chicken Wing-Dingers™. 

Since these establishments are pretty tight-lipped about their prices, I put together a guide to some of the most popular happy hour deals in the country. (Prices and selection, of course, may vary by region.)

Five Great Tech Gifts Your Mom Really Wants


Mother’s Day is just around the corner (May 11, in case you haven’t checked your calendar lately), but you’ve still got time to buy Mom something great.

Flowers are nice, sure, but they usually don’t last more than a few days. If you want a gift that keeps on giving, head to the technology aisle. I’ve rounded up five tech gifts items that are sure to please any mom (and make your flower-bearing siblings look extra-lame).

1. NeatConnect Scanner


You know what Mom really wants? Less clutter around the house. The NeatConnect works a special kind of magic by scanning and organizer all the paper: bills, receipts, business cards, and other desk-cluttering documents.

Urban Outfitters Surplus Store is a Red-Tag Lovers Dream


The average person’s experience with Urban Outfitters is mainly, “This place is okay, but too expensive.” It’s a store that has some cute stuff, but also way too many overalls. Who the hell is wearing overalls these days? I’m no slave to fashion, but I do like to buy decent looking clothes now and then.

I’ll admit that Urban Outfitters has some good clothes, but the real problem are the prices. Shirts that go for $40-$70? Dresses for $70-$100? Who has that kind of dough? Well a lot of people I’m sure, but not me.

My experience with Urban Outfitters has been to zip right through the regular priced stuff, and go straight to the sad little corner with the word “SALE” hung over it. That tiny section of clothing is much more in my price range, and often, has at least one thing that would fit me. Or, at least one thing I could squeeze well enough into where I would convince myself that it fit me. I long accepted that this was to be my fate with Urban Outfitters, forever.

Cinco de Mayo Fiesta on a Dime


Cinco de Mayo is associated with yummy food and even yummier drinks. While some may think Cinco de Mayo is the celebration of Mexico’s Independence Day, it’s actually the celebration of their defeat over the French at the Battle of Puebla. 

Over the years, Cinco de Mayo has become a celebration for even non-Mexicans who want to eat delicious food and make a toast in honor of the special day!  If you’re desperate to throw a Cinco de Mayo party, but don’t have all the right stuff, read on for cheap but hilariously non-Mexican alternatives:

Use Free Produce Bags for Your Dog’s Poop


Beginning January 1 in Los Angeles, single-use carry-out plastic bags were banned in all major grocery stores, and including big-box stores like Target and Walmart. Los Angeles is now the largest city in the nation to boast the ban. Major cities like San Francisco, Portland, Mexico City and Sydney, Australia have already beaten L.A. to the plastic punch.

PLASTIC BAG HOT PRO: Did you know it takes 91% LESS energy to recycle 1 pound of plastic than it does to recycle 1 pound of paper, AND it takes up less space in a landfill? TAKE THAT, ECO-TERRORISTS!

PLASTIC BAG SAD CON: A single plastic bag can take 20 to 1,000 years to degrade, and the average family accumulates 60 bags in 4 trips to the grocery store. And every square mile of ocean has about 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in it.

Coming This Summer: Hulu Plus, Free For You and Me


I guess prayer really does work, because for as long as I can remember, I’ve been asking the gods to make Hulu Plus free.

Hallelujah, it’s a miracle! My prayers have been answered. Well, sort of.

As you probably know, Hulu is the go-to source for last night’s episode of, well, just about everything. Unlike, say, Amazon or Netflix, which typically give you past seasons of TV shows, Hulu serves up current seasons of most network heavyweights: “The Blacklist,” “Once Upon a Time,” “Castle,” and so on.

You can enjoy this on-demand largesse for free–provided you watch everything on your PC in a browser. Not terribly convenient. If you want Hulu on, say, your Roku box or mobile device, you have to subscribe to Hulu Plus.

A Transparent Tour of Target

Target-The Scratch

Like most Americans, I love Target. They’re easily my most trusted department store brand and we have a long history together.

As a teenager growing up in small town Ohio, my friends and I would go to the Target nearby just to wander around and look at all of the stuff and sit on the patio furniture. It was kind of like going to the mall for us, which early on made me associate Target with convenience, one of their strongest values (Maybe someday I’ll tattoo my body with all of my favorite brand logos, and when I do, you can count on the Target bullseye being close to my heart).

Three Surprisingly Cheap Ways to Own an iPhone


It wasn’t long ago that “cheap” and “iPhone” couldn’t exist in the same sentence. Heck, the same paragraph. Merely uttering those two words within 10 minutes of each other was cause for mockery and scorn.

My, how times have changed.

Owning an iPhone is now downright affordable, at least when it comes to monthly service. Believe it or not, you can pay as little as zero for an all-inclusive plan. There are a few small catches, of course, but nothing you can’t live with — especially if you’re willing to use an older model like the iPhone 5 or 4S.

Here’s a look at three surprisingly cheap ways to own an iPhone, starting with a brand new option that was just announced.

Easy Ways to Save Money as a Wedding Guest

Wedding Guests Only

My husband and I have eight weddings to attend throughout this summer and fall. That’s eight shower gifts, eight wedding gifts and almost as many hotel and car rental bookings.

Oh — and I’m in three of them. That’s three bridesmaid dresses and three bachelorette parties to attend and help plan.

Please don’t get me wrong — I love and cherish each one of these friends, and I’m honored to be a part of the wedding for those friends who have asked me. The thing is … weddings can really add up, even when you’re just a guest (and especially if you’re a bridesmaid!). In an effort to not blow my entire savings account on weddings this year, I thought I’d do a little research to figure out how I can be as prepared as possible for the costs, as well as potentially cut back on the spending and still be as giving to each of these couples as I’d like to be.

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