iTunes U includes lectures, TV programs
We've all thought about how much more we'd learn if we got a chance to go to college again as mature adults. One of the best places to be a student again is at iTunes U, which provides free access to thousands of audio and video files from some of the world's top universities.
The service also provides free access to public radio and TV programs, and this summer the Library of Congress began participating. You can listen to American Public Media's "Marketplace" or watch PBS programs, all free and at your own convenience.
Home Depot, Web sites offer lessons
When we were growing up, no one ever called a handyman. If anything needed fixing, you fixed it yourself. Our father, who was an ad man (but not like the ones in "Mad Men"), built a bedroom and bathroom in the basement following instructions in books he got at the library. We got a toolbox to take to college.
Doing your own home repairs is a great way to save money. Not only can you check out books at the library, but you can look up nearly any home repair project online and get detailed directions and watch instructional videos. Plus, keeping up with regular home maintenance is one way to avoid expensive problems later.
Retail clinics charging $25 to $30
It's not comprehensive health care reform, but CVS is offering 100,000 free flu shots to the unemployed, and Walgreens will offer free flu shots to the uninsured in some cities.
CVS started giving flu shots this week at some Minute Clinics, at a cost of $30 or your insurance co-pay. Starting Sept 15, the drugstore chain will offer flu shot clinics at many of its stores. The vouchers for free flu shots will be distributed at events at One-Stop Career Centers, which offer job training and counseling.
Walgreens is distributing vouchers for free flu shots to the uninsured during the AARP/Walgreens Wellness Tour, which offers free screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, bone density and body mass index. Uninsured patients who visit the bus between Sept.17 and Nov. 15 can get a flu slot voucher. Flu shots start at $24.99 at Walgreens Take Care Clinics.
46-inch TVs, netbooks, Wii to be on sale
Wondering whether to buy something now or wait for Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, when it might be cheaper?
The predictions are the lowest prices to expect, during the entire "Black Friday Season," mid-November to Cyber Monday. As the season draws closer, you can check for updates to these predictions at DealNews' Black Friday deals section.
Chains compete with lower prices
As consumers eat out less, competition is getting fierce among the sit-down casual restaurant chains, which have been offering deals and discounts in the hope of luring more customers.
While the deep discounts haven't made franchise owners happy, they are providing more opportunities for diners to eat out for less.
Smoothies, chocolate and massage
If it's Friday, it must be free food day, though we've got a few non-edible deals as well.
If you're on a diet, we suggest you take advantage of the $35 massage and the week of free yoga in lieu of the free ice cream. Or, do what we'd do and take advantage of both.
Remember that not all local franchises participate in all national promotions, so be sure to call before you go.
Know value of items before donating
It's great to clear out stuff you no longer use and give it to charity. But, as one unidentified Miami investment firm learned, you should make sure you know what you're giving away.
When the investment firm was renovating its offices last May, they donated a quantity of items to Goodwill, including a 2.5-ton bronze statue of a young ballerina. For months, the statue sat in a warehouse, until Goodwill employees did a little investigating before setting a price.
It turned out the sculpture was one of 10 created in 1985 by famed artist Sterett-Gittings Kelsey and is valued at $500,000. Goodwill decided the honorable course of action was to offer to return the statue, The Miami Herald reported. The investment firm took it back.
It's unlikely any of us have sculptures worth $500,000 lurking in our homes (though I'm going to check the garage this weekend just to be sure), but it does pay to do some research before donating items you no longer want. We've all seen Antiques Roadshow, where Aunt Mavis' ugly table turned out to be worth $3,000.
Manufacturers also have coupons for OTC drugs
When I recently needed an antibiotic eye ointment that costs $50 for a five-day supply (with insurance), I started looking for a discount. There was no generic. I managed to find a CVS coupon for a $25 gift card with a new prescription, but it had expired last month. The cheaper alternatives listed on my insurance company's Web site contained an ingredient to which I'm allergic, and my doctor didn't have any samples.
I went looking on the Internet, but all I could find was a $25 gift card coupon from CVS for transferred prescriptions.
But I did find something else useful: rebates for prescription medications.
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