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46-inch TVs, netbooks, Wii to be on sale

By Teresa Mears Sep 14, 2009 5:04PM

Wondering whether to buy something now or wait for Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, when it might be cheaper?


Partner blog DealNews has your back, with predictions about what deals to expect for Black Friday 2009. Last year's predictions were 82% accurate, notes Dan de Grandpre, CEO and Editor of DealNews.


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

By Teresa Mears Sep 14, 2009 3:23PM

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

By Teresa Mears Sep 14, 2009 3:08PM

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.


Here are this week's deals, courtesy of our friends at Cities on the Cheap and Kelly at Bargainista:


Know value of items before donating

By Teresa Mears Sep 14, 2009 3:05PM

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

By Teresa Mears Sep 14, 2009 3:00PM

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.


Hulu and iTunes Store are part of the mix

By Karen Datko Sep 11, 2009 6:08PM

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


I've had several requests lately to update my two-year quest to find cheap alternatives to cable television.


In March of 2007, Kris and I were paying $65.82 for a deluxe digital cable package that we rarely used. I wrote at that time that "$65.82 a month isn't a fortune, but it's a lot of money to pay for something that doesn't get used. If we were big TV watchers, maybe the cost could be justified. But we aren't. And it can't."


To save money, we cut our cable to just the basic channels, which reduced our bill to $11.30 a month. We also began to use the iTunes Music Store to subscribe to the shows that we wanted to watch. And over the past year, I've become a fan of Hulu, an online service that allows users to watch many past and current shows for free.


Here's an overview of the tools we use, and how much money we've managed to save.


Is it like taking your own food to a restaurant?

By Karen Datko Sep 11, 2009 5:56PM

It's once again time to take a break from the heavier issues of the day, and "Frugal Dad" gave us the respite we were looking for. Ponder this one: Is sneaking your own candy into the movie theater frugal or cheap?


This is an academic exercise for us because we don't really care for movie theater candy. (We've got our eye on the popcorn with extra butter.) But it's a real-life decision for Frugal Dad, and you might be surprised at the decision he reached.


And remember, some things are better left unsaid

By Karen Datko Sep 11, 2009 5:44PM

What did Paul Williams of Crackerjack Greenback do to keep from crying after he was laid off? He prayed and then told family and close friends. "Those two actions will give you the energy you need to keep going forward," he wrote.


Being upfront with those close to you about your unemployed state is essential for your mental well-being, many bloggers advise. On the other hand, screaming at your boss may give you some momentary satisfaction, but don't do it. "Now is not the time to burn bridges," says an excellent post at Destroy Debt called "What to do if you get laid off."


(Maintaining composure may be all the more difficult if you're laid off by mass e-mail or IM, or read about it at your boss's blog -- all true stories, according to Linton Weeks' post at NPR. So much for the human touch.)


Stories about layoffs are spreading across the Web, and we noticed some dominant themes. First, tell friends and family immediately.



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