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Consumer Tips and Reports



Save money, make better financial decisions and get out of debt with the help of our consumer tips and reports.



Last Build Date: Mon, 06 May 2013 17:14:41 -0500

Copyright: Copyright 2016
 



How to Budget for a New Year

Mon, 06 May 2013 17:14:41 -0500

It takes a while to learn how to budget. That's no reason, though, not to get started. If you're worried about your finances, the worst thing you can do is ignore the situation: it's absolutely essential that you find a way to bring your budget under control. And the easiest way to do that is budgeting.

Although it takes some time and effort to learn how to budget your money, the process itself is not that difficult. Depending on your financial situation and how much you trust yourself, there are a number of ways to handle budget planning. Here are a few to get you started.




Homemade Cleaners Save a Surprising Amount of Money

Mon, 22 Apr 2013 17:12:54 -0500

Have you ever tried homemade cleaners? Chances are you have in a pinch -- my first experience with homemade cleaners came when I had to clean up a red wine stain in a hurry. To my surprise, my homemade internet recipe of baking soda and soda water worked miracles. But for a long time afterwards, in spite of my success, I kept using expensive and harsh chemical products.

But then I started trying to shop more effectively and save money, and I realized exactly how much I spend on chemical cleaners. And you can double that price if you use disposable products such as Swiffers which, while incredibly convenient, can also cost a fortune (and are less than green, too).

Fortunately, you can have a lot of extra money simply by making your own homemade cleaners! Here's how.




How to Choose a Decent Car Repair Facility, Part II

Mon, 08 Apr 2013 17:09:04 -0500

The average car repair is something like a root canal: a costly, uncomfortable procedure you want to get over with ASAP. While this characterization may offend the sensibilities of dentists and mechanics alike, let's get real here. In both cases, what you need is quick work, done with a minimum of pain.

In Part I, we looked at the basics that you should consider when choosing a new auto shop. That includes the category of shop you require, based on the necessary repairs; appearance; and the place's reputation. In Part II, we'll outline a few more selection criteria.




How to Choose a Decent Car Repair Facility, Part I

Mon, 25 Mar 2013 17:07:41 -0500

Are you happy with your current car repair facility? If the answer's a resounding NO!, then it's time to do a little comparison shopping. So: do you know what you should be looking for?

Whether you're unsure or just need to brush up on the details, read on!




Black Thumb Gardening, Part II

Mon, 11 Mar 2013 17:03:36 -0500

In gardening circles, they call it having a black thumb: that innate talent for killing any plant you come into contact with. Well, they don't all have to die! While you're unlikely to exchange your black digit for a green thumb, there are some plants that just about anyone can grow with a high change of success.

Last time, in Part I, we covered some of the hardier flowers, like four o'clocks and pansies, and houseplants such as Devil's Ivy and Screw Pine. All of the above take a determined effort to kill. But what about plants for the pot? Well, let's see...




Black Thumb Gardening, Part I

Mon, 18 Feb 2013 17:00:53 -0500

Some of us (and your Humble Writer may be included) seem to have a black thumb instead of a green one -- that is, just about every plant we try to grow keels over and dies on us, no matter how well we care for it. And there goes all that investment in time, effort, and gardening supplies, right down the drain.

Maybe it's just that we can't follow the directions right, or don't really water enough, or water too much...or maybe we've just got the touch of death when it comes to green growing things. Well, if you haven't had any luck and are about ready to give up and try plastic flowers... well, don't throw in the trowel just yet.




Save Money With Small Changes

Mon, 04 Feb 2013 11:47:22 -0500

When you want to save money, every little bit counts. A few cents here and a few cents there adds up quickly. With just a very small bit of effort on your part, you can save a lot of money at home, especially when it comes to laundry, cleaning, and water use. Not only will you be saving money, you'll be going green at the same time. It's win win for you and the environment.




How to Save on Heating Bills

Mon, 21 Jan 2013 11:45:44 -0500

It's always a good idea to save on heating. Not only will you help the environment and reduce emissions, you'll save a lot of money on heating bills. Depending where you live, winter can be a very expensive time -- and the longer it lasts, the more frustrating those sky high bills become.




Jigsaw Puzzles: Cheap and Challenging Entertainment

Mon, 07 Jan 2013 11:44:12 -0500

In an era when seeing a first-run movie can cost you $10 or more (and that doesn't even count the stale popcorn), thank goodness for inexpensive entertainment like jigsaw puzzles. For a few bucks, you can get hours' worth of amusement... and when you're done you end up with artwork, not just memories.

So today, let's reconsider the jigsaw puzzle's place in the family entertainment scenario.




Can Radiant Barriers Really Save You Money?

Thu, 27 Dec 2012 11:42:36 -0500

Unless you've been living in a cave, you've probably seen some media-buzz about radiant barriers lately. If you have in fact been living in a cave, then know that a radiant barrier is a layer of reflective material that keeps heat from invading your home, ideally lowering your cooling costs in warm weather.

The big question is: do radiant barriers actually work? Good question. Let's check the facts.




Before Choosing Service Providers, Check Their Ratings

Mon, 10 Dec 2012 11:40:06 -0500

Many of us have horror stories to tell about service providers of one kind or another: how we forked over a down payment, only to have them disappear after doing little, if any work; or perhaps how a project went vastly over schedule due to poor management.




Things All Teen Drivers Should Know

Mon, 19 Nov 2012 11:37:23 -0500

Let's just put it right out there: teen drivers are scary. They're new at the game, so their inexperience is worrisome. Worse, some don't take driving as the serious privilege it is, which causes a whole separate set of issues that the rest of us have to deal with.




How to Save On Bills

Thu, 01 Nov 2012 19:33:36 -0500

We all want to save on bills. If you're anything like me, your heating and electricity bills surge out of control during the winter months, and you'd do almost anything to get them down. Fortunately, there are ways to save money on your household expenses, and if you put them into practice, you'll have a much easier time managing your budget.




How to Stop Foreclosure Before You Lose Your Home

Thu, 25 Oct 2012 19:03:25 -0500

There is nothing more devastating than facing a home foreclosure. It is the ultimate loss of dignity, and it leads not only to financial troubles but to depression, anger, and frustration. Most people facing foreclosures are good, responsible people who have either fallen on tough economic times or simply gotten behind in their payments. Either way, they want a foreclosure stop, and they want it fast.

If that describes you, here are some steps you can take to become more knowledgeable about, prevent, and survive foreclosures.




Using Credit Cards in the Economic Slump

Thu, 11 Oct 2012 19:01:21 -0500

For some of us, credit cards are an occasional convenience. For others, they're a necessary way to stretch our budgets in tough times. And for others still, they're an economic disaster waiting to happen.

Times are tough, and many people are using their credit cards to help them through. That's fine within reason. However, there are a number of ways you can make sure your credit cards don't break you -- and sometimes even save you money.