December 22, 2010

Cheap Christmas? The Christmas Consumer Price Index Is Down

I took a look at the Christmas Price Index (CPI) last year to mull over the prices of the items that were part of the “12 Days of Christmas” ensemble. Last year, the prices were supposed to have stayed stable, while this year, prices have supposed to have slid. Sounds great, but…. I wonder about that. […]

Best Buy Eliminates Some Restocking Fees

On the heels of a lackluster sales report during the holiday season, Best Buy has decided to eliminate restocking fees. Until recently, Best Buy charged customers 15% of the purchase price to restock an opened item. These returned electronics, if sold, usually feature a sales price of 10% off the regular price. […]

Spare Change: Help a Reporter Edition

From time to time, reporters contact me for help on their stories. But often, I’m not the person they want to talk to. The person they want to talk to is you. This week, I’ve connected with two reporters writing stories with which they hope GRS readers can help. The first is looking for somebody in the Twin Cities area who has elected to live without credit cards. […]

How to Become a One-Income Family

Last month I shared a real-life example of going from two incomes to one and gave a few thoughts on how to make this happen. […]

Out With The Old, In With The New: Start a Potluck Circle

Throughout the month of December, The Simple Dollar is posting a daily series focusing on specific activities you can do right now to set the stage for a great 2011. Out with the old, in with the new. 22. Start a potluck circle. One of our favorite social events is the potluck dinners we have with our friends. […]

Wells Fargo Direct Deposit Advance

Consumerism Commentary reader Yana wrote in yesterday to let me know about some changes in the terms for Wells Fargo’s Direct Deposit Advance service. At first, I was surprised that this service exists. […]

Finding Luxury Designer Goods at Low Prices

We all know how good it feels to find luxury brand items at bargain prices.  In fact, we may be called frugal by everyone that knows us but we also enjoy products that are attractive, long lasting, and have less of a negative impact on the environment.  Those factors, along with our tight budget, are the reasons why we buy things secondhand.  Where else on earth can a woman find a […]

How to Be Mortgage Free

The book The Cheapskate Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of Americans Living Happily Below Their Means suggests how people can live mortgage free (after some time, of course) by taking the following seven steps: 1. Buy less house than you can afford. 2. Stay put in the house as long as you can. 3. Make additional payments toward principal whenever possible. 4. […]

Setting Up a Home Office on the Cheap

If you go into an office furniture store and start browsing around, you can quickly wind up with sticker shock. But you don't have to let that stop you from creating a home office — it can be done surprisingly inexpensively. The Reason for Your Office Before you dive into designing your home office, think about why you're setting it up. […]

The 2011 Payroll Tax Holiday

As you’re likely aware, Congress recently agreed to extend the Bush-era tax cuts, which means that tax rates in 2011 will look the same as they did in 2010. If you were paying attention, you might have also heard the phrase “Payroll Tax Holiday.” Today I want to talk a bit about what that means. What is the payroll tax? The payroll tax refers to the Social Security portion of your FICA taxes. […]

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Christmas Thoughts Edition

This week, I went through the archives of several of my favorite personal productivity and personal finance blogs and found some of my favorite articles they had written about the Christmas season. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. A Non-Consumer Christmas: Simple Gifts for Kids and Grown-Ups Our biggest challenge, honestly, is limiting who we give gifts to. […]

Safety Tips for Holiday Driving

Whether I'm staying near home for the holidays or driving to my destination, I notice that around this time of year drivers become harried and seemingly more careless. […]

5 Gifts You Can Get Through Bartering

A frugal holiday doesn't need to be a giftless one. Whether you’re in a service industry, a professional, or just a frugal gift-giver willing to work, you can barter your time and services for wonderful gifts that have real value. […]

Evaluating My Progress Against 2010 Goals

There isn’t a lot of time left in 2010. As I get older, time seems to move faster. Perhaps now that I am not spending eight or more hours dedicated to a day job, I will be able to slow down the passage of time. With more time, 2011 may be better for me in terms of meeting the goals and targets I set for myself. […]

Frugal Ideas I’ve Always Wanted to Try

One of the really fascinating parts of the recession is the effect it has had on news stories. During the boom, mainstream media focused heavily on the excesses of those who had money. You had stories of the most expensive wine or the most expensive dessert. There were stories about luxury cars and of fantastic mansions on enormous estates. […]

Live to 100 — For Cheap!

This post is from staff writer April Dykman. When the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, what will you toast to? Health? […]

The Two Portly Gentlemen Are Entrepreneurial Philanthropists

The following is a guest post from Marotta Wealth Management. As I do every December, I have been enjoying rereading "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens. This year I've been thinking about Scrooge's interaction with the two portly gentlemen who stop by to collect for the poor. […]