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For most homeowners, insulation gives you the best bang for your buck, but you might want to start with an energy audit.

By Teresa Mears Feb 8, 2010 4:20PM

If you live in an older home, you may be looking at old windows, old doors, an old furnace and high power bills -- and wondering which improvement would save you the most money on energy costs.

 

Tax credits of up to $1,500 per homeowner, for 30% of the cost of energy-saving improvements, make 2010 a good year to tackle some of those jobs. But which ones will give you the best bang for your buck?

 

Looking for online love by Valentine's Day? How to avoid getting ripped off.

By Karen Datko Feb 8, 2010 11:32AM

This Deal of the Day comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.

 

Looking for someone to date can be as expensive as actually going out on one.

 

Subscribe to an online dating site and you can easily pay upward of $40 per month for membership; you'll pay more if you also want personalized coaching and other features to improve your odds of finding that special person. That adds up: The market for online dating is expected to reach $1.6 billion by 2013, up from $957 million in 2008, according to Forrester Research.

 

With online services reporting an increase in subscriptions, sites could raise their prices without losing customers, says Mark Brooks, principal consultant for Courtland Brooks, a consulting firm that works with the online dating industry. "By all accounts, online dating sites are leaving money on the table," he adds.

 

If you consider signing up as an investment in your future happiness, be sure to do your research before shelling out any cash:

 

Millions of people will overpay to file their taxes this year. Don't be one of them.

By Stacy Johnson Feb 8, 2010 11:09AM

This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News.

 

Imagine owning a business where you charge people $50 to $200 to do something they could just as easily get totally free.

 

You would think such a business would be bankrupt in minutes, but you'd be wrong. Tax preparation and software services rake in hundreds of millions of dollars every year for tax help that could be had for nothing.

 

A poll is one thing, but what are your thoughts?

By Karen Datko Feb 8, 2010 9:24AM

This post comes from J.D. Roth at partner blog Get Rich Slowly.

 

On a recent Friday night, we had some good frugal fun. Kris and I got together with a group of my old high school friends to go bowling and eat pizza. It was just like the good ol’ days -- but with a bunch of grade-school children added to the mix.

 

Over pepperoni pizza and root beer, the conversation turned to the economy. I asked my brother Jeff how the family box factory is doing. “To be honest,” Jeff said, “we’re about to finish our best month since October 2008. And if you look at actual daily sales, this will be our best month since February 2008. It’s our best month in two years.”

 

“That’s great,” I said. “Maybe this means the economy has finally turned a corner.”

 

New voluntary program gives a bigger employee discount to those who meet certain health criteria.

By Karen Datko Feb 5, 2010 6:01PM

Upscale grocer Whole Foods has a new voluntary program to reward workers who don’t use nicotine and meet specific numbers for body mass index, blood pressure and cholesterol during in-store screenings. Have the right numbers, and you get up to 30% off stuff you buy at the store. Kinda fat? You’re stuck with the regular employee discount of 20%.

 

It’s no surprise that CEO John Mackey, who has already railed against government involvement in health care -- let the all-knowing corporations take care of that! -- is getting more heat.

 

Jezebel appeared to be the first to share the news: Anna North wrote, in part:

 

Pizza, wings and a chance to cover up men without pants.

By Teresa Mears Feb 5, 2010 1:42PM

We hear there is a big football game this weekend, which has inspired a number of Super Bowl food deals. Here is our Super Roundup of food freebies and deals, thanks to our friends at Cities on the Cheap and a few others.

 

The pizza deals we’ve written about before are in effect for the big game, including any pizza for $10 at Pizza Hut, any large pizza for $10 or extra large for $11.99 at Papa John’s, and two medium two-topping pizzas for $5.99 each at Domino’s.

 

Deciding among sales, discounts and deals isn't always about the price.

By Karen Datko Feb 5, 2010 12:31PM

This Deal of the Day comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.

 

A steep discount doesn’t mean a thing when the item or service you’re paying for isn’t worth that amount of money.

 

“Price is what you pay -- value is what you get,” says Steven Cohen, president of The Negotiation Skills Company, a Massachusetts-based for-hire consultancy that helps clients negotiate for better deals. Comparing prices is an important first step, but smart shoppers should ask four more questions, he says: Why do I want this? How much do I need it? Is there a more affordable or more appropriate alternative? What kind of value will I get?

 

Price and value intersected for me on a recent weekend at the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival in New York.

 

Do it right or pay the price.

By Donna_Freedman Feb 5, 2010 12:26PM
A tenant just moved out of the building I manage. He did a bunch of things wrong and it cost him, both literally and figuratively.

Things like: 

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