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New guide explains when to get the best price on a wide variety of consumer products.

By Karen Datko Apr 29, 2010 3:23PM

Nearly everyone knows that the end of the model year is the best time to buy a new car. But did you know that dealerships are more likely to give you a break toward the end of each month? Many, the Go Frugal Blog at, have monthly quotas.

OK, maybe all you car nuts knew that too. But we’d almost guarantee you’ll learn something from FreeShipping’s new “Best Time to Buy Guide.” It covers 75 products, including 30 new additions to the list.


Among those that caught our eye:


Spending on pets rises during the recession, and luxury hotels are ready to pamper your furry family members.

By Teresa Mears Apr 29, 2010 1:45PM

When it comes to resorts, my cats turn up their noses. They are, after all, cats. Among the last things they want to see on vacation are … DOGS. No pet resorts for us. I don’t think the cats’ disdain for resort travel has anything to do with respect for the family budget, but I appreciate it anyway.


We recently received a news release from a Florida hotel touting its Mother’s Day “Ugly Mug” special for families, including children of any shape, size or number of legs. That made us curious about hotel perks for the pet set.


How to find the best deals, eat like the locals, and create a Port-o-Kitchen.

By Karen Datko Apr 29, 2010 1:12PM

This guest post comes from Kris at Cheap Healthy Good.


As the summer approaches, several bajillion Americans (self included) are itching to get out of work, to soak up the rays of another warm season.

Also, they’re hungry.

Transportation and housing aside, food is a major budget concern when planning a vacation. Since most travelers are just trying to find a decent, affordable meal, nutritional considerations nearly always fall by the wayside.

What follows, then, is a plan: the ultimate guide to saving dough on food while you’re away, with extra emphasis on healthy options.


10 tips from his parents, who came to the U.S. from Calabria, Italy, 35 years ago.

By Karen Datko Apr 29, 2010 10:34AM

This guest post comes from Vincent Scordo at


Both of my parents were born in Southern Italy, where unemployment is high and quality of life is superb. My mother made it to the seventh grade, and my father received the equivalent of a technical high school diploma. Both of my parents immigrated to the U.S. in 1975 and are currently debt-free, own their own two-family home, and have plenty of money in savings.


They are, in many ways, leading the American dream -- by not adopting the principles of American consumerism.


The lessons below may be described as "old school" and overly simplistic, but the hard truth is that each tip works. And, moreover, they are used frequently by recent immigrants to the United States (and are often forgotten by the second or third generation):


How to go about actually changing your money habits, rather than just wishing you could.

By Karen Datko Apr 29, 2010 9:27AM

This post comes from Trent Hamm at partner blog The Simple Dollar.


Mark writes in:

I’ve been reading The Simple Dollar for a year or so and I’ve found it really inspirational. My problem is that I can’t get past the “inspirational” part.
Several times, I’ve started to try to implement your tips. I’ll make grocery lists and try out lots of free activities and give up my morning coffee and start watching less television and reading more. What I find, though, after a week or so, is that I just get frustrated with all of it and I quit all of it and go back to doing exactly what I was doing before. How do you start changing if you can’t even tackle a handful of simple changes like this?

The Kindle and Nook are available at big-box retailers. Should shoppers bite?

By Karen Datko Apr 28, 2010 5:13PM

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


Before last week, buying one of two popular e-readers meant ordering it directly from the manufacturer. Now, consumers have a choice: Stick with the manufacturer or buy from a retailer.


Shoppers in search of the Kindle reader can purchase it from manufacturer and, as of last Sunday, in some Target stores in Minneapolis and Florida (a nationwide rollout is planned for later this year). The Nook reader, once available only from Barnes % Noble, went on sale at Best Buy stores and on the chain’s website on April 18. (Both devices retail for $259 at each location.)


41% are helping support young adult offspring, but they still expect their kids to do as well or better than they did, survey finds.

By Teresa Mears Apr 28, 2010 4:04PM

Even though more than 40% of “sandwich generation” parents are providing financial help to young adult children, they still expect those children to do better financially than they did.


Is there some disconnect there?


According to the Charles Schwab 2010 Families & Money Survey, which polled 1,000 parents of children ages 23 to 28, a total of 41% are still providing financial help to their offspring -- though 86% say they were financially independent by 25.


Dad's bank is open for business, kids, so let's talk money. What do you know?

By Karen Datko Apr 28, 2010 1:53PM

This guest post comes from Len Penzo at Len Penzo dot Com.


When it comes to money matters, my two kids manage their personal finances in completely opposite ways. In fact, it is utterly amazing to me that my children are even related.


My daughter, Lenina, likes to set goals and save her money. On the other hand, Matthew, who’s two years older, can’t spend his money quickly enough. If the only item left at the local Quickie-Mart happens to be a 50-cent box of broken toothpicks and my son walks in with a shiny Sacagawea dollar in his pocket, you can rest assured that he will happily buy the toothpicks and tell Apu to keep the change.


My son’s habits are especially frightening to me. If his habits don’t change, as an adult he will quickly sacrifice his future for short-term gratification.


Kids are not born with an innate sense of how to manage money. More importantly, they have no real concept of the value of money (and truth be told, that can be said of many adults). For proof, just ask any 5-year-old how much the house he lives in costs.


I have been slowly trying to teach my kids, and Matthew especially, about the value of money and the benefits of properly managing it, but it is a tough row to hoe.


Last year I decided to gauge just how good a handle my kids had on the value of money, when Lenina was 9 and Matthew was 11. And what better way to do so then by inviting them to apply for a loan at the good old Bank of Dad?



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