shopping tips http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7/all en-US The One Question You Should Ask Before Every Major Purchase http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-question-you-should-ask-before-every-major-purchase <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-one-question-you-should-ask-before-every-major-purchase" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young_woman_looking_at_car.jpg" alt="Young woman looking at car" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Recently, my husband had to buy a new bathrobe. The old one, which had completely worn out after a decade of wear, was the exact same ridiculous pastel coffee mug robe that Brad Pitt sported ironically in the movie <em>Fight Club</em>. The coffee mug robe cost $188, and had been a gift from me because my husband simply could not bring himself to spend nearly $200 on something he was going to wear around the house on lazy mornings.</p> <p>He loved that intentionally ridiculous robe, but despite my urging him to replace it with the same one from the same boutique, he again balked at spending that kind of money on a bathrobe. No matter how often I pointed out that he'd be spending a little less than $19 a year on daily joy (assuming the replacement robe also lasted 10 years), I could not change his mind.This situation got me wondering, though. How do you decide whether it's worth it to spend $200 on a ridiculous bathrobe, $500 for a phone upgrade, or an additional $5,000 to get the trim package you really want on your new car?</p> <p>Here's the thought process you should go through to figure out if a major purchase is worth it.</p> <h2>The big question: Is this an investment or an indulgence?</h2> <p>The basic definition of an investment is something that will appreciate in value over time. Buying a house is a common example of an investment purchase. In addition, upgrading your flight to business class so that you can more easily get work done on the plane may be an investment (if you can truly commit to working in flight) since the cost of the upgrade will be more than covered by the money you make while working.</p> <p>But what about investments that appreciate in something other than monetary value? For instance, you might spend money on biweekly massages, which do not appreciate in financial value, but they do keep you pain- and stress-free, which might be worth far more to you than the cost of the massages. That is an investment in your physical and mental well-being, even if you never see a specific financial return.</p> <p>On the other hand, an indulgence is something that simply makes you feel good in the moment. You don't expect an indulgence &mdash; like buying your favorite gourmet coffee, driving a sporty car, or purchasing the latest trendy clothes &mdash; to appreciate in financial value. There is nothing wrong with spending money on indulgences, and in fact, they can be an important part of your budget. The problem is when you justify your indulgences by claiming they are investments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole Budget</a>)</p> <h2>How to tell the difference</h2> <p>The fundamental disagreement that my husband and I have over the bathrobe comes down whether or not spending nearly $200 on it would be an investment or an indulgence. I believe that it's an investment in his daily happiness. He believes it's an indulgence, and therefore not worth the money.</p> <p>There are a couple of things to consider to help you figure out if your major purchase falls into one category or the other:</p> <h3>Length of use</h3> <p>In general, the longer you can get good use out of a product or service, the more likely it is that you are looking at an investment. That means that clothing fads are more likely to be indulgences, whereas well-made classic pieces like a suit or little black dress are more likely to be investments.</p> <h3>Is there a possible substitute?</h3> <p>If there is no other way you'd get the same feeling from another purchase, then it's likely that you're looking at an investment. For instance, you may feel more professional, put-together, and relaxed when you get a weekly manicure. Painting your own nails does not feel the same, and in fact, you feel less professional with your DIY manicure. That means your weekly manicure date is likely an investment in your positive outlook, rather than an indulgence.</p> <h2>Just because it's an investment doesn't mean you should buy it</h2> <p>Even though the big ticket item you want to buy will be an investment in your well-being, that doesn't necessarily mean you should buy it. Major expenditures can derail your finances, even if your purchase will appreciate in value in some way. Before you make your investment purchase, ask yourself if you can afford to make the purchase. If you can't, commit to saving up for it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-mental-biases-that-are-keeping-you-poor?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Mental Biases That Are Keeping You Poor</a>)</p> <h2>Know what you value</h2> <p>Ultimately, determining whether or not you should make a major purchase is all about knowing the things you value most. Spending money on things that will appreciate in value &mdash; whether financial or emotional &mdash; can be a good investment. Spending money on things that will offer more fleeting value is generally an indulgence.</p> <p>Knowing which is which can help you decide when to spend, when to save, and when to just go ahead and buy the silly robe.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-question-you-should-ask-before-every-major-purchase">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-its-better-to-buy-at-the-last-minute">6 Things It&#039;s Better to Buy at the Last Minute</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-23-mental-tricks-thatll-help-you-save-money">Flashback Friday: 23 Mental Tricks That&#039;ll Help You Save Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-unusual-stores-where-you-can-find-great-bargains">9 Unusual Stores Where You Can Find Great Bargains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-things-that-should-never-cost-more-than-99">11 Things That Should Never Cost More Than $99</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping major purchase mental bias mental tricks question saving money shopping tips Shopping Tricks Spending Money Fri, 26 May 2017 08:00:11 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1953939 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Things That Should Never Cost More Than $99 http://www.wisebread.com/11-things-that-should-never-cost-more-than-99 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-things-that-should-never-cost-more-than-99" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/girl_trying_on_shoes.jpg" alt="Girl trying on shoes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Life is expensive, y'all. Food, rent, home energy, gas &mdash; the basic necessities for modern living &mdash; cost a fortune these days. This is precisely why we need to avoid overpaying elsewhere in our budget. Save yourself some dough by rethinking some of these could-be pricey purchases that should never come in at more than $99.</p> <h2>1. Men's haircut</h2> <p>I don't have the beautiful ginger locks I once had &mdash; it's gettin' pretty sparse up there, friends &mdash; but even when I did have a generous coif to maintain, I never spent more than $20 on a haircut. I spend even less now &mdash; from $8 to $15 at Great Clips (they often have $9.99 specials in my area, and I receive $2 off regularly priced haircuts when I show my local gym membership). Unless you're getting a serious 'do done, you shouldn't pay more than $35. That's the highest I've ever forked over &mdash; in Manhattan &mdash; which included shampoo, cut, rinse, and hot towel service. Even then, I could have done without three of those things.</p> <h2>2. Jeans</h2> <p>If you read my posts frequently, you know I like to shop. Clothing is one of my few budget vices, and I'm generally not apologetic about the amount of money I spend to look good. I do draw the line at expensive jeans, however.</p> <p>In the past, I've spent more than $100 on a single pair of jeans &mdash; with purposefully designed holes in them, no less. But you know what happens to them? Eventually I get tired of them or they fade or I lose/gain too much weight to wear them, and they get sent to charity. And when I started putting that sitch in perspective, I decided I'd much rather send $20 jeans to charity than $150 jeans. Now I almost strictly buy denim at the J.Crew Factory Store (they retail for around $65) that I can score between 40 percent and 60 percent off, and many times I have an additional discount on top of that. I've also started selling my unwanted jeans on Swap.com to recoup some of that cost. I recommend the latter strategy if you have stylish, in-good-shape denim lying around. You may be surprised at how much you'll get for your old clothes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-make-800-on-month-on-ebay-selling-used-clothes?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How I Make $800 on Month on eBay Selling Used Clothes</a>)</p> <h2>3. Halloween costume</h2> <p>Some of my friends are super into Halloween, spending hundreds of dollars on their elaborate costumes each year. I don't get it. A couple Benjis on a goofy get-up that you'll wear one time for, like, four hours? Get outta here. Raid your closet and the local thrift and craft stores to DIY your costume if you enjoy the holiday, but there's no reason to spend more than $99 to be an internet meme or a superhero.</p> <h2>4. A dress you'll only wear once</h2> <p>If you plan to be buried in that dress, spring for it. But if you know you'll only wear it once, what's the point of dipping into your savings to buy it? Instead, ask your friends if they have a dress you can borrow for whatever the occasion may be. It'll be new to you, and no one else has to know you borrowed it. Otherwise, try secondhand stores, online consignment shops, and re-accessorizing what you already have to find a dress you won't feel guilty about wearing when you're already short on rent. Or, if you are looking to splurge on a dress, make sure it's versatile enough to wear multiple times. You can never go wrong with an LBD, after all.</p> <h2>5. Multiple trips to Starbucks in one month</h2> <p>Listen, if you have a $99-plus monthly coffee habit, you have a <em>problem</em>. Coffee is so much cheaper when you make it at home. Brew a pot before work and take it to go. Then take that extra cash you save by making coffee at home and put it toward a vacation fund or retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-rich-youd-be-if-you-stopped-drinking-expensive-coffee?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's How Rich You'd Be if You Stopped Drinking Expensive Coffee</a>)</p> <h2>6. Gym membership</h2> <p>Even when I lived in Manhattan, I didn't pay more than $99 a month for a gym membership, and mine gave me access to all the locations on the island, including the steam rooms, saunas, showers, and towel service. It wasn't a luxury gym, <em>per se</em>, but it did have some luxuries. Plus, there are so many ways to get fit for free that a triple-digit monthly charge hardly seems worth it.</p> <p>If I ever pay more than $99, I want somebody to work out for me while I watch. Weight loss through osmosis. I like that idea.</p> <h2>7. Textbook</h2> <p>College courses like to stick it to you by constantly updating the editions of the required textbooks so you have to buy the latest, most expensive version. Sometimes you can't avoid it, but most of the time you can find used versions of the books you need in the campus bookstore or online. Bonus if they have notes from the previous owner in them. Added value!</p> <h2>8. Massage</h2> <p>There are very few professions out there that command nearly $100 per hour for services. Massage therapy is one of them, but usually you're not getting what you deserve for the money, i.e. the therapist has hands like a Tonka truck. Skip the high-end spas and try out your more affordable, local options instead. You can also score really great spa deals on daily deal sites that often cut the prices in half.</p> <h2>9. Sneakers</h2> <p>In New York City, I regularly see people standing in line for expensive limited-edition kicks, and I'm sure you've heard the story about NBA newbie Lonzo Ball, who recently <a href="http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-lonzo-ball-shoes-20170511-story.html" target="_blank">released his own $495 shoes</a>. I get it. Guys love their sneaks and they'll pay out the wazoo for them. But until they make shoes that render me able to fly, I'm perfectly happy staying in the $75 to $95 range for shoes that I plan to get dirty and sweat all over.</p> <h2>10. Warehouse club memberships</h2> <p>We've written about the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-wasting-or-saving-money-with-a-warehouse-club-membership" target="_blank">pros and cons of warehouse memberships</a>, and they make sense if you're feeding a large family, but if you're only feeding one or two mouths, you're probably paying more for the membership than you'll save over its annual lifetime. Combine that with the amount of food you'll waste when you buy in bulk without the need to buy in bulk, and you're really doing your wallet a disservice. Clip your coupons and shop small at your local supermarket where there's no fee to enter.</p> <h2>11. Fresh flowers</h2> <p>If you think about it, flowers are the only living, non-consumable item that we buy at extraordinary prices just to watch die and throw in the trash five days later. Would you buy a fish for $100 if the pet store told you you're gonna have to lay it to rest by the end of the week? Absolutely not. Set a reasonable maximum amount for your fresh bouquets, never exceeding $99. Or skip the buds altogether and spring for alternative gifts that bring joy, like ice cream. Wouldn't you be happier with a pint of Ben &amp; Jerry's than a bouquet of wilted roses? So would everyone else.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-things-that-should-never-cost-more-than-99">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-budget-overhaul-tricks-for-the-recently-unemployed">5 Budget Overhaul Tricks for the Recently Unemployed</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/39-mindless-ways-youre-wasting-money-in-every-part-of-your-life">39 Mindless Ways You&#039;re Wasting Money in Every Part of Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s">This Is How Americans Spent Their Money in the 1950s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-its-better-to-buy-at-the-last-minute">6 Things It&#039;s Better to Buy at the Last Minute</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping $99 budget tips expensive buys frugal tips shopping tips Spending Money Thu, 25 May 2017 08:30:13 +0000 Mikey Rox 1953937 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Save Big at a Going Out of Business Sale http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-big-at-a-going-out-of-business-sale <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-save-big-at-a-going-out-of-business-sale" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_with_shopping_baggs.jpg" alt="Man saving big at a going out of business sale" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are few shopping events that beat a Going Out of Business sale. Even Black Friday and Cyber Monday often pale in comparison to the deals bargain hunters can score from a failed retailer.</p> <p>However, to maximize savings during a Going Out of Business sale, you have to be vigilant. Shoppers can get out of hand trying to grab all the good deals and end up buying items they wouldn't normally purchase. If you stumble onto a closing sale, keep these five factors in mind.</p> <h2>Double check prices first</h2> <p>Ask an employee about any confusing or potentially outdated sales. Also, pay careful attention to the prices that pop up on the cash register as you make the purchase. There is a small chance that new sale prices haven't been updated yet or the item you picked up was in the wrong sale section. Either way, you don't want to end up paying more than expected.</p> <p>If you do notice a potential price discrepancy, address the matter with a staffer. In store closure sales, all sales are often final. So if you check your receipt later and are unhappy with how much you paid, you might not be able to return anything for a refund.</p> <h2>Don't assume it's the best deal</h2> <p>A common misconception is that the store is looking to get the items off the shelf as rapidly as possible to save money on overhead costs. In many cases, these sales aren't actually run by the failed company. Instead, liquidation organizations run the sales. In order to maximize <em>their </em>profits, they often plan for the liquidation sale to last months.</p> <p>This sales strategy means that the initial days and weeks of a store closure sale may only offer around 10 percent off. The store also tends to eliminate any sales that had been set in place to ensure competitive pricing. Check your smartphone or other stores to see if the prices are actually competitive before you start grabbing things off the shelves. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-in-5-seconds-or-less-with-these-27-easy-tricks?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Save Money in 5 Seconds or Less With These 29 Easy Tricks</a>)</p> <h2>Beware of misleading add-on discounts</h2> <p>Closing sales often try to entice customers to purchase specific items by offering an additional 10 percent off the sale price. With a base sale of 20 percent off and an additional 10 percent off, you might think this adds up to 30 percent off your bill. In reality, the extra 10 percent is deducted <em>after </em>the base sale of 20 percent is calculated.</p> <p>So if an item is $20, 30 percent off would make it $14. But with this tricky additional 10 percent off after the base sale, the item would be 10 percent off $16, which is $14.40. The difference seems small, but it can make a significant impact on bulk purchases or more expensive items.</p> <h2>Don't waste your time arguing over prices</h2> <p>When it comes to Going Out of Business sales, the customer is not always right. The company isn't concerned with retaining customers at this point. The owner or liquidator's only goal is to maximize profits.</p> <p>This means that tactics like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-effectively-complain-to-get-what-you-want" target="_blank">complaining to employees</a> or haggling won't lead to lower prices or special privileges. Giving exceptions to price policies is out of the manager's hands at this point. If you go down that road, you'll be wasting your own time and the time of everyone behind you in line.</p> <p>Just view these sales as take-it-or-leave-it propositions on as-is merchandise. If you don't like it, move on.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/samantha-stauf">Samantha Stauf</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-big-at-a-going-out-of-business-sale">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-things-that-should-never-cost-more-than-99">11 Things That Should Never Cost More Than $99</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-questions-to-ask-before-buying-refurbished-appliances">4 Questions to Ask Before Buying Refurbished Appliances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-unusual-stores-where-you-can-find-great-bargains">9 Unusual Stores Where You Can Find Great Bargains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheat-sheet-retail-markup-on-common-items">Cheat Sheet: Retail Markup on Common Items</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-its-better-to-buy-at-the-last-minute">6 Things It&#039;s Better to Buy at the Last Minute</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping clearance sale going out of business going out of business sale markdowns shopping tips Tue, 23 May 2017 08:30:13 +0000 Samantha Stauf 1951909 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Questions to Ask Before Buying Refurbished Appliances http://www.wisebread.com/4-questions-to-ask-before-buying-refurbished-appliances <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-questions-to-ask-before-buying-refurbished-appliances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-185311029.jpg" alt="Woman asking questions before buying a refurbished appliance" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Some form of risk comes with any purchase, whether it's a new or refurbished item. Fortunately, refurbished appliances and electronics can be a great deal, if you do your research first. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-the-secret-to-buying-electronics-for-cheap?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why Refurbished Electronics Are Such a Great Deal</a>)</p> <p>Refurbished products are items that have been used, opened, or slightly damaged in some way. They have been repaired to return them to a &quot;like-new&quot; status. If you're thinking about buying a refurbished item to save some cash, ask yourself the following questions first.</p> <h2>Is it a good deal?</h2> <p>Large appliances are designed to last a long time with little maintenance, so you can feel confident about buying a one- or two-year-old refurbished appliance. As a general rule, if a refurbished item includes a full warranty, working parts, and significant savings, it's a good deal.</p> <p>Another way to quickly determine whether a particular purchase is worth it is to subtract the amount of depreciation from the original cost of the appliance. For instance, if a new appliance is $500 and is expected to last 10 years it would have $50 depreciation per year. If you are purchasing the item after two years, you'd ideally want to find something that is under $400 ($500 - two years of $50 depreciation = $400). (For help with this number, check out: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-long-these-6-appliances-should-last" target="_blank">Life Expectancy of 6 Major Appliances</a>)</p> <h2>Can you find a better price elsewhere?</h2> <p>Use a price comparison site like PriceGrabber to first determine where you can get the best deal. Then, compare the total costs of refurbished versus new appliances. New appliances frequently come with free or discounted delivery, which can save you quite a bit off the total cost. Inquire about shipping costs before deciding on a used appliance. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-stupid-shopping-mistakes-even-smart-people-make?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Stupid Shopping Mistakes Even Smart People Make</a>)</p> <h2>How can you find a reputable seller?</h2> <p>It's important to choose a reputable retailer. While you might be able to save more money with a private seller or local repair shop, there&rsquo;s a chance you won't be able to do anything if the item turns out to be a lemon.</p> <p>You can find great deals on refurbished items both in-store and online. Consumer Reports suggests <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/electronics-computers/should-you-buy-refurbished-electronics/" target="_blank">purchasing refurbished electronics at Amazon</a>, but warns that they don't always include warranties. You can also see customer reviews on Amazon, which can help you make your purchasing decision.</p> <h2>What about warranty coverage?</h2> <p>Refurbished appliances are often covered by a warranty from the manufacturer or store. If the appliance has no warranty, or a very short one, it might be a warning sign that you're getting a dud.</p> <p>Even if the seller doesn't offer a new warranty, you might still receive what's left of the original warranty. These warranties tend to last between 30 days and one year, so they aren't usually as long as you would get with a new item. And while you can add an extended warranty to brand-new appliances, you can't do the same with refurbished items. Some warranties only cover new parts, so you'll want to inquire about exactly what the warranty covers.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-questions-to-ask-before-buying-refurbished-appliances">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-classic-impulse-buys-we-need-to-stop-falling-for">10 Classic Impulse Buys We Need to Stop Falling For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-cast-iron-skillets">The 5 Best Cast Iron Skillets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheat-sheet-retail-markup-on-common-items">Cheat Sheet: Retail Markup on Common Items</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-bath-mats">The 5 Best Bath Mats</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/da-buy-world-considering-blue-saturday">Da&#039; Buy World: Considering &quot;Blue Saturday&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping appliances buying used home goods refurb refurbished appliances refurbished items shopping shopping tips tech gadgets Wed, 17 May 2017 08:30:12 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1948476 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Unusual Stores Where You Can Find Great Bargains http://www.wisebread.com/9-unusual-stores-where-you-can-find-great-bargains <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-unusual-stores-where-you-can-find-great-bargains" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-613338282.jpg" alt="Woman finding great bargains at unusual stores" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sometimes it pays to go off the beaten path in search of bargains. Shopping in a specialized market with fewer buyers puts the law of supply and demand to work in your favor. When I talk about the nice mountain bike that I bought for $7.50, people want to know where I found a deal like that. Here's a hint &mdash; it wasn't at a bike shop where most people buy bikes!</p> <p>Here are some unusual stores where you may be able to find some of the greatest bargains.</p> <h2>1. Military surplus store</h2> <p>Military surplus stores sell new and used military items, often at much lower prices than sporting goods stores or home improvement stores. Check the smell of fabric items, as some items may be musty from storage.</p> <h3>What to buy</h3> <p>Rope, camouflage netting and material for outdoor projects, footlockers, unique storage containers, and affordable gear for camping/hiking/outdoor adventuring.</p> <h2>2. Amish market</h2> <p>An Amish market is a store or open air market run by members of the Amish religion who are known for their simple lifestyle and high quality workmanship. These markets feature high quality products at very reasonable prices. Bring cash, as some Amish markets do not take credit cards. You may need to check out the market in person since some do not have websites.</p> <h3>What to buy</h3> <p>Cheese, meat, produce, hand crafted items, soup mixes in Mason jars, honey, and homemade candy.</p> <h2>3. Pawnshop</h2> <p>A pawnshop takes valuable items as collateral for loans, and sometimes the shop ends up selling these items when loans are not paid back. Check out items carefully before buying since returns may not be accepted. A photo ID may be required to make purchases. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-objects-to-pawn?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 7 Best Objects to Pawn</a>)</p> <h3>What to buy</h3> <p>Leather jackets, bicycles, tools, jewelry, musical instruments, and binoculars.</p> <h2>4. Auctions</h2> <p>Buyers bid on items for sale at an auction, and the highest bidder gets to buy the item. Auction houses are businesses that hold auctions on a regular basis &mdash; typically every week. Auctions are also held at estate sales and going-out-of-business sales to liquidate items quickly since everything gets sold during the auction. Use <a href="http://www.auctionzip.com/" target="_blank">AuctionZip.com</a> to find auctions in your area to attend.</p> <p>Set a maximum price in your head before the bidding starts &mdash; it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of bidding and spend more than you planned. I bought the $7.50 mountain bike I mentioned at an auction in January.</p> <h3>What to buy</h3> <p>Almost any used items: furniture, collectibles, antiques, tools, appliances, and vehicles.</p> <h2>5. Unclaimed Baggage Center</h2> <p>Airlines sell unclaimed baggage to the <a href="https://www.unclaimedbaggage.com" target="_blank">Unclaimed Baggage Center</a> where items are sold at a retail store in Scottsboro, Alabama. Don't miss a chance to check this out unique store if you are passing through the area.</p> <h3>What to buy</h3> <p>Luggage, books, clothing, jewelry, sporting goods, electronics, and cameras.</p> <h2>6. Sales for property seized by governments and the TSA</h2> <p>Surplus office equipment, weapons seized at airports, jewelry and vehicles confiscated by police departments, and many other treasures are up for auction in almost every state. You can find lists of auction sites on a handful of websites, including <a href="http://www.eyeflare.com/article/where-buy-goods-confiscated-tsa/" target="_blank">eyeflare.com</a> and <a href="https://www.govsales.gov/govsales/govsales/" target="_blank">govsales.gov</a>. While many sales let you to go and view the items in person, plenty hold online auctions, too, allowing you to bid for items without ever leaving home.</p> <h3>What to buy</h3> <p>Vehicles, office equipment and furniture, knives, electronics, and clothing</p> <h2>7. Consignment shop</h2> <p>Consignment shops sell items previously owned by customers, and share the sale price with the original owner. Learn the codes on price tags for markdown dates. Many <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-deals-to-look-for-at-pawn-shops-thrift-shops-and-other-weird-stores" target="_blank">consignment stores drop prices</a> significantly after an item has been on the shelf for a certain period, such as 30 days. Consignment stores are also great places to sell your unwanted items to pick up some cash.</p> <h3>What to buy</h3> <p>Almost any used item: housewares, clothing, furniture, sporting goods, books, and CDs.</p> <h2>8. Habitat Restore</h2> <p>People and businesses donate building materials and home improvement items to Habitat Restore, which are sold at very reasonable prices to fund Habitat for Humanity charitable projects. The selection varies, so multiple trips may be needed to find what you need.</p> <h3>What to buy</h3> <p>Doors, mirrors, lighting fixtures, paint, building materials, and plumbing supplies.</p> <h2>9. Landfill salvage and recycling areas</h2> <p>Some landfills and junkyards set aside items that people may want and give them away (or sell them for a nominal fee). Check websites of local landfills and junkyards to see if they have salvaged materials.</p> <h3>What to buy</h3> <p>Bikes, building materials, mulch, and compost.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-unusual-stores-where-you-can-find-great-bargains">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-its-better-to-buy-at-the-last-minute">6 Things It&#039;s Better to Buy at the Last Minute</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-shop-for-food-once-a-month-and-save-big">How to Shop for Food Once a Month and Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-classic-impulse-buys-we-need-to-stop-falling-for">10 Classic Impulse Buys We Need to Stop Falling For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-big-at-a-going-out-of-business-sale">How to Save Big at a Going Out of Business Sale</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping auction farmers market pawnshop saving money shopping tips Shopping Tricks surplus store thrift store unusual stores Tue, 16 May 2017 08:30:14 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1945351 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Things It's Better to Buy at the Last Minute http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-its-better-to-buy-at-the-last-minute <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-things-its-better-to-buy-at-the-last-minute" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-543665766.jpg" alt="Woman learning things it&#039;s better to buy at the last minute" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you an anxious planner when it comes to deals? Me too! But sometimes, acting <em>strategically spontaneous</em> can be rewarding. The early bird doesn't always get the worm. Here are six things it's better to buy at the absolute last minute.</p> <h2>1. Hotel rooms</h2> <p>Sometimes planning a vacation is the best part of the process. But if you want to get a deal, it may pay to be a little late to pull the trigger. With apps like Hotels Tonight, or discount-minded broker sites like Booking.com, it's easier than ever to book a last-minute stay. This is especially true at the nicer three-stars-and-above hotels, which are more expensive. They tend to have lots of vacancy on Sundays and weeknights, so if you can handle the uncertainty of waiting until the last minute, you could score really posh lodgings. </p> <p>The downside is that you may end up with your second or third choice of hotel if your favorite option sells out before you can snag a deal, but it's still likely that you'll end up with more value for your buck when you scoop up unbooked inventory at the eleventh hour.</p> <h2>2. Show tickets</h2> <p>From sporting events to plays, there are ways to sneak in under the wire and get a last-minute deal. An empty seat is lost money, so venues would rather sell a last-minute ticket at a discount than lose that revenue altogether. Take advantage by buying your sports tickets one to three days before the game using sites like SeatGeek. For music and theater shows, wait until the day of. The best deals await you at the box office &mdash; visit once they open to inquire about discount remainder tickets.</p> <h2>3. Farmers market fare</h2> <p>After a long morning of selling fruit, veggies, cheese, and other perishables, farmers market stalls are eager to sell everything. That means when 2 p.m. rolls around, deals can be made. This is especially true for produce, meat, and dairy &mdash; items that will likely be a hassle to repack and transport, or may perish en route &mdash; so they'll want to unload them fast. Swoop in to make your offer, and they will likely accept. You'll finally be able to afford items that are sometimes not worth the extra expense otherwise. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-this-not-that-at-the-farmers-market?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Buy This &mdash; Not That &mdash; at the Farmers Market</a>)</p> <h2>4. Cruises</h2> <p>Cruises remain a very popular and cost-effective way to enjoy an all-inclusive vacation. Nevertheless, many ships don't fill up to 100 percent capacity, so it's a great opportunity to get an even better deal on a cruise. Especially good times for deals are right before or after a major peak holiday, and during hurricane season, but sometimes you can even get lucky on a cruise during peak time.</p> <p>You may have to settle for a cruise that ends in a different port than you departed from, or you might need to take more time off for a longer cruise, if that's what's available during your last-minute buying window. Still, you might get lucky!</p> <h2>5. Flights</h2> <p>Despite the unpredictable nature of plane tickets, there are so many flights daily that it is still possible to get lucky with a last-minute fare. If you live near a hub, you can be especially lucky. Use Google Flights regularly to check in on your options. They do a good job of sorting through the best costs and departure times. Southwest has sales all the time, so if the time is right, pounce! Tuesdays are ideal to shop if you're buying flights for the coming weekend. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-flight-booking-hacks-to-save-you-hundreds?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Flight Booking Hacks to Save You Hundreds</a>)</p> <h2>6. Holiday gifts</h2> <p>Are you someone who buys all your presents early and gets mad at your partner for waiting until Christmas Eve to shop? Well, maybe they're onto something. Sure, there are lots of deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but at many big box and department stores, the better deals on the stuff you want happen the week of Christmas. Coats, pajamas, boots, appliances, holiday-themed merchandise, undersold video game consoles, and more get deep discounts. At drugstores, you may see stocking stuffers like candy, toys, and bath gift baskets move to the clearance aisle, too.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-its-better-to-buy-at-the-last-minute">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-unusual-stores-where-you-can-find-great-bargains">9 Unusual Stores Where You Can Find Great Bargains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-shop-for-food-once-a-month-and-save-big">How to Shop for Food Once a Month and Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-things-that-should-never-cost-more-than-99">11 Things That Should Never Cost More Than $99</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/39-mindless-ways-youre-wasting-money-in-every-part-of-your-life">39 Mindless Ways You&#039;re Wasting Money in Every Part of Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping booking flights last-minute shopping saving money shopping tips Shopping Tricks Spending Money travel tips Fri, 05 May 2017 08:30:07 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1940413 at http://www.wisebread.com Flashback Friday: 53 Grocery Shopping Tricks That'll Make Your Life Easier http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-53-grocery-shopping-tricks-thatll-make-your-life-easier <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/flashback-friday-53-grocery-shopping-tricks-thatll-make-your-life-easier" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_grocery_bag_500927185.jpg" alt="Man using grocery shopping tricks that make his life easier" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You head to the grocery store, armed with a list and a plan to be as efficient as possible, and then somehow you become an aimless browser. You fall victim to impulse buys and overpriced salads from the deli. And when you get home, you spent more time and money than you should have, and you forgot one of the key items you need for upcoming meals. No more. Here are 53 grocery shopping tricks that'll make your life easier.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/woman_grcoery_bag_000018272858_0.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-fresh-food-delivery-services-that-can-save-you-big?ref=fbf">21 Fresh Food Delivery Services That Can Save You Big</a> &mdash; Skip the trip to the store entirely and have all your food delivered! Sound like a dream come true? It is. Here are all the best services to try.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-checkout-line-tricks-to-finish-shopping-faster?ref=fbf">5 Checkout Line Tricks to Finish Shopping Faster</a> &mdash; When you just want to get in and out of the grocery store, follow these smart shopping tricks. Avoiding chatty cashiers and opting for the checkout lanes on the left could save you lots of precious time.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/woman_fresh_strawberries_000067876803_0.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-off-season-foods-that-are-destroying-your-grocery-budget?ref=fbf">5 Offseason Foods That Are Destroying Your Grocery Budget</a> &mdash; A really easy fix to staying on-budget is to avoid the sections of the store with foods that are currently offseason. Stick to what's in-season and you'll save time and lots of money.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-having-your-groceries-delivered-can-save-you-money?ref=fbf">6 Ways Having Your Groceries Delivered Can Save You Money</a> &mdash; You might assume that getting your groceries delivered is a luxury only the rich can afford. Not true! If you shop smart, you can actually save money by having your food delivered to your door.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/man_confused_groceries_000061844584_0.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-you-are-sabotaging-your-weekly-grocery-budget?ref=fbf">9 Ways You Are Sabotaging Your Weekly Grocery Budget</a> &mdash; The best way to improve any skill is to learn from your own mistakes, right? Take a look back at your previous grocery receipts, give meal planning a try, clip those coupons, and your grocery budget will remain intact.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-times-to-go-grocery-shopping?ref=fbf">The Best and Worst Times to Go Grocery Shopping</a> &mdash; A big part of making grocery shopping easier is knowing when to shop in the first place. Because there are certain times &mdash; weekend afternoons, for example &mdash; when you shouldn't go at all.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-53-grocery-shopping-tricks-thatll-make-your-life-easier">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-hot-new-food-trends-the-frugal-way">8 Hot New Food Trends — The Frugal Way</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-122-no-fuss-dinner-ideas-thatll-save-you-money">Flashback Friday: 122 No-Fuss Dinner Ideas That&#039;ll Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-shop-for-food-once-a-month-and-save-big">How to Shop for Food Once a Month and Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-affordable-alternatives-to-the-grocery-store">10 Affordable Alternatives to the Grocery Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-times-to-go-grocery-shopping">The Best and Worst Times to Go Grocery Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping buying food fbf flashback friday food shopping groceries grocery shopping shopping tips Fri, 24 Mar 2017 09:30:40 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1915404 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Classic Impulse Buys We Need to Stop Falling For http://www.wisebread.com/10-classic-impulse-buys-we-need-to-stop-falling-for <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-classic-impulse-buys-we-need-to-stop-falling-for" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holding_cake_37433622.jpg" alt="Woman resisting impulse buys we need to stop falling for" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>An impulse buy is just how it sounds. It's a purchase that we haven't really thought through, and instead follow the direction of our &quot;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-lizard-brain-derail-your-finances">lizard brains</a>.&quot; We don't ponder the pros and cons of the purchase, or even think about what it is we're actually buying. We simply grab it, pay for it, and enjoy it. But these little impulse buys can really add up to some serious money every month. And just by alerting yourself to the biggest offenders, you may actually think twice next time you're about to grab one, and save yourself a nice chunk of change every month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-simple-ways-to-stop-impulse-buying?ref=seealso">9 Simple Ways to Stop Impulse Buying</a>)</p> <h2>1. Magazines</h2> <p>You're standing in line at the checkout, you've loaded up the conveyor belt, and now you're playing the waiting game. That's when you notice some of the outrageous or tempting headlines on the magazines in the rack, and pick one up. Before you know it, you're sucked in, you've plopped the magazine on the conveyor, and you've just spent $5 on something you were not planning to buy. That, in itself, is bad enough. But magazines fresh off the rack are way more expensive than a magazine subscription. These days, you can pick up a subscription to most of the big magazine titles for between $5-$10 per year! Not only that, but almost everything you read in the magazine is available online, through your phone, tablet, or computer. It's a complete waste of money.</p> <h2>2. Candy</h2> <p>Oh, those pesky supermarket designers are devious. They know just how to get you dipping into your purse or wallet, and candy is a classic example. Even if you're not tempted by chocolate or sugary snacks, kids are. And the &quot;nag factor&quot; is enough to make most parents, grandparents, aunties, and uncles, cave in. You will also see special offers on candy in the checkout line, such as BOGO free, or BOGO half off. You may also see &quot;Buy 2, Get 1 Free.&quot; These offers are designed to push you from a maybe to a &quot;well heck, I don't want to miss out on that kind of a deal!&quot; And before you know it, you've added a bunch of extra calories, and expenses, onto your grocery haul.</p> <h2>3. Cold Drinks</h2> <p>Have you noticed that mini-refrigerators have been popping up at checkouts with increasing regularity? From stores like Walmart and Target, to Goodwill, Ross, and Best Buy, as you wait in line, you will be staring into ice-cold beverage heaven. For some reason, many of us are preprogrammed to just naturally grab a drink after we've been shopping, but those drinks are more expensive as singles than as part of a pack &mdash; a pack you can find just a few aisles away. Plus, you need to ask yourself, &quot;Are you really that thirsty?&quot; Many stores have drinking fountains, so grab some free water before dropping $2-$4 on a drink you probably don't need.</p> <h2>4. Lip Balm</h2> <p>Raise your hand: How many of you have more than three or four lip balms at home (and yes, I'm putting my hand up, too). It may be more common in places with a drier climate, like Colorado or Arizona, but for some reason, the lure of the fresh, hermetically sealed lip balm is as tempting as candy and soda. And at the same time, we seem to forget how many we already have at home in the junk drawer or nightstand.</p> <h2>5. Batteries</h2> <p>&quot;Batteries Not Included&quot; is a phrase that has been burned into the memory of anyone that has ever given a present to an eager child. They open it up, press the buttons, and nothing happens. That's when you realize it takes eight size &quot;C&quot; batteries and all the stores are closed. Due to that conditioning, batteries are strategically placed near checkouts in grocery stores, warehouse stores, and electronics outlets. &quot;Don't forget your batteries&quot; ticks away in your head, and you grab a pack of each variety&hellip;. just in case. They join their unopened brothers and sisters on the shelf in the garage. One day, hopefully before they run out of juice, they'll get used.</p> <h2>6. Gum or Mints</h2> <p>Another classic impulse purchase is the tin of mints or packs of gum. They're placed at eye-level, right as you're plunking down your purchases for the cashier. No one likes a whiff of bad breath, so a tin of extra strong mints and a pack of spearmint gum will do the trick. They're only a few bucks, after all. You can put them in the glove compartment, and hope you'll have a reason to use the 60 sticks of gum that are already in there.</p> <h2>7. Coffee</h2> <p>What is the deal with coffee these days? It's like you can't walk 10 feet without bumping into a store selling the latest organic, dark roasted, pumpkin-spice-flavored cup of joe. Let's be honest though. Somewhere along the line, we were all convinced that paying $6-$7 for coffee was reasonable, even though we can all make perfectly good coffee at home for a tenth of the price. The smell of coffee, and the incredible flavors that go into it, is often hard to resist. There are Starbucks stores inside grocery stores, just near the exit, and one whiff is enough to get most people diving into their pockets for a quick pick-me-up.</p> <h2>8. Fast Food</h2> <p>Just like coffee stores, fast food brands have been setting up shop in grocery stores and retail outlets around the country. For instance, you can find both Subway and McDonald's inside Walmart, and they do an incredible amount of business. Some people say that you should never do your shopping on an empty stomach, and grabbing a quick burger before hitting the aisles seems like a good idea. Or, as you leave the store, the scent of grilled beef and fresh bread breaks down your willpower in seconds. Before you know it, you're munching on a burger in the car, despite having a week's supply of food in the trunk.</p> <h2>9. Energy Shots</h2> <p>These pesky critters have been popping up around the checkouts for the last few years. It used to be just one brand (Five Hour Energy), but now there are dozens of different brands on the scene. Gas stations and supermarkets are not exactly fun places to be, and if you're in one for long enough, or you're having one of those days, a little shot of energy seems like a great idea. &quot;I'm tired&hellip;oh, energy in a bottle. I'll take one!&quot; These shots can cost $2-$3 each, and the effects they have vary from person-to-person. You may get an insane energy buzz, or barely a twitch. Either way, it's an expensive little impulse.</p> <h2>10. Protein Bars</h2> <p>Protein. Protein. Gotta have your protein. These protein-packed bars are big business, and can be found in various places, including the vitamins and supplements aisles. That is a bit bizarre, because although they do contain a big chunk of protein, they also contain a list of ingredients that would give a healthy eater nightmares: <a href="http://www.prevention.com/food/bad-energy-bar-ingredients">high-fructose corn syrup, inulin</a>, agave syrup, sugar alcohols, and fractionated palm kernel oil are just a few horrors lurking in them. But due to our increasingly hectic lifestyles, these have become a quick &quot;grab-and-go&quot; meal replacement. No time for lunch? A protein bar will do. Actually, it won't. It's an expensive mistake, and it can lead to sugar crashes and diarrhea.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-classic-impulse-buys-we-need-to-stop-falling-for">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-questions-to-ask-before-buying-refurbished-appliances">4 Questions to Ask Before Buying Refurbished Appliances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-44-sneaky-shopping-traps-to-avoid">Flashback Friday: 44 Sneaky Shopping Traps to Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-unusual-stores-where-you-can-find-great-bargains">9 Unusual Stores Where You Can Find Great Bargains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheat-sheet-retail-markup-on-common-items">Cheat Sheet: Retail Markup on Common Items</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-its-better-to-buy-at-the-last-minute">6 Things It&#039;s Better to Buy at the Last Minute</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping candy gum impulse buys junk food saving money shopping shopping hacks shopping tips willpower Thu, 03 Nov 2016 09:00:10 +0000 Paul Michael 1825862 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Become an Efficient Shopper in 10 Minutes http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-become-an-efficient-shopper-in-10-minutes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-become-an-efficient-shopper-in-10-minutes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shopping_clothes_000008431873.jpg" alt="Woman becoming efficient shopper in 10 minutes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found tips to shop efficiently, how to gain control of your finances in the New Year, and cheap ways to avoid dry skin in the winter.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.admiremoms.com/how-to-become-an-efficient-shopper/">How to Become an Efficient Shopper in Just 10 Minutes?</a> &mdash; Know which stores in your area are more budget friendly and check their prices for the items that you buy most frequently. [Admire Moms]</p> <p><a href="http://shopperstrategy.com/2015/12/29/7-tips-for-gaining-control-of-your-finances-in-the-new-year/">7 Tips for Gaining Control of Your Finances in the New Year</a> &mdash; Find non-monetary ways to reward yourself for your hard work. [Shopper Strategy]</p> <p><a href="http://www.cheapism.com/blog/4035/winter-skin-care">10 Cheap Ways to Ward Off Dry Skin This Winter</a> &mdash; Use soap-free body and face wash to avoid irritating your skin and stripping your skin of moisture. [Cheapism]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Interview-Mistakes-35619757">9 Costly Interview Mistakes That Can Lose You the Job Offer</a> &mdash; Don't beat around the bush &mdash; you'll risk losing the interviewer along the way. Get to the point! [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/2015/1224/Finally-US-paychecks-are-starting-to-grow">Finally, US paychecks are starting to grow</a> &mdash; The economy has been growing, and paychecks are expected to do the same in 2016. [The Monitor]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://everythingfinanceblog.com/16357/everyone-need-follow-budget.html">Does Everyone Need to Follow a Budget?</a> &mdash; Not everyone needs to follow a budget, but it's important to track your expenses so you know where your money is going. [Everything Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.cleverdude.com/content/three-uses-for-an-unwanted-gift-card/">Three Uses For An Unwanted Gift Card</a> &mdash; If you have a gift card that you're never going to use, re-gift it to someone who might appreciate it. [Clever Dude]</p> <p><a href="http://www.stevenaitchison.co.uk/blog/5-potentially-deadly-pains-you-should-never-ignore/">5 Potentially Deadly Pains You Should Never Ignore</a> &mdash; Don't ignore any kind of tooth ache or pain. An infection or abscess in your teeth will quickly stream through the rest of your body. [Change Your Thoughts]</p> <p><a href="http://afewshortcuts.com/2015/12/7-educational-activities-you-can-do-with-snow/">7 Educational Activities You Can Do with Snow</a> &mdash; Got snow in your area? Take the kids out or bring some snow in for these fun and educational activities! [A Few Short Cuts]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/how-to-help-your-kids-fall-asleep-and-stay-asleep">How to Help Your Kids Fall Asleep and Stay Asleep</a> &mdash; Screen time before bed can stimulate your child's brain so much that she has trouble falling asleep. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-become-an-efficient-shopper-in-10-minutes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-big-at-a-going-out-of-business-sale">How to Save Big at a Going Out of Business Sale</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-things-that-should-never-cost-more-than-99">11 Things That Should Never Cost More Than $99</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-questions-to-ask-before-buying-refurbished-appliances">4 Questions to Ask Before Buying Refurbished Appliances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-unusual-stores-where-you-can-find-great-bargains">9 Unusual Stores Where You Can Find Great Bargains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheat-sheet-retail-markup-on-common-items">Cheat Sheet: Retail Markup on Common Items</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping best money tips shopping tips Wed, 30 Dec 2015 20:00:03 +0000 Amy Lu 1629635 at http://www.wisebread.com Cheat Sheet: Retail Markup on Common Items http://www.wisebread.com/cheat-sheet-retail-markup-on-common-items <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/cheat-sheet-retail-markup-on-common-items" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3275702181_a11e8d65ae_z.jpg" alt="sale" title="sale" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The holidays typically bring a rush of retail shopping. And during tough economic times, retail shopping brings endless commercials and high-decibel ads all proclaiming &ldquo;low prices&rdquo; and &ldquo;deep discounts.&rdquo; But how can we determine the value of a discount if we&rsquo;re unaware of the average retail markup? If those jeans are priced 200% above wholesale, does a 15% discount really seem that generous? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/party-like-its-1999-the-psychology-of-pricing" title="Party Like It's 19.99: The Psychology of Pricing ">Party Like It's 19.99: The Psychology of Pricing</a>)</p> <p>Very few resources exist to research the average markup that retailers enjoy between their wholesale costs and retail prices. The whole topic seems shrouded in complex formulae and arcane insider knowledge. Even in the Information Age, online searches on the subject bring wild variances in statistics (when they exist) and huge gray areas of subjectivity (when they don&rsquo;t).</p> <p>With a few days worth of research, I&rsquo;ve narrowed down the range that most retailers employ when pricing their items. The list below outlines some of the more common consumer goods and the associated markup from wholesale to retail. One caveat: Consumers in America have a wide choice in retailers, and big box stores, outlets, malls, and boutiques all have their unique pricing structures based on overhead such as advertising, real estate prices, buying volume, staffing, etc. No single rule holds true for each, and broad ranges are the norm. However, from a consumer perspective, a broad range based upon research is better than no idea at all. A knowledgeable consumer is better equipped to understand the real value of a discount based upon a retailer&rsquo;s real cost and not the markup/markdown shell game that seems to entice us so often.</p> <h3>Clothing Markups: 100-350%</h3> <p>Jeans are the biggest culprit in the clothing category. The price of boutique denim jeans can reflect a markup of 350%. Jeans from mid-level retailers like Kohl&rsquo;s or JCPenney are slightly saner with an average markup of 115%.</p> <h3>Shoe Markups: 100-500%</h3> <p>Markup is as varied in the footwear industry as sizes and styles. Typical cross-trainers or athletic shoes carry a 100% mark-up, while higher-end fashion shoes at boutique stores can be marked up by as much as 500%.</p> <h3>Cell Phone Markups: 8-10%</h3> <p>The entire category of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-advice-for-the-gadget-addicted" title="Frugal Advice for the Gadget Addicted">electronics</a> has some of the lowest markups around. Cell phones, for example, are only bumped up about 8% between wholesale and retail. The profit center for phones lies in the service contracts and usage fees. Manufacturers can operate with a lower retail markup because the real money is in the service.</p> <h3>Furniture Markups: 200-400%</h3> <p>No industry manipulates the meaningless MSRP (Manufacturer&rsquo;s Suggested Retail Price) quite like the furniture industry. Salespeople usually receive a 15-20% commission if they sell an item at the inflated MSRP. But there&rsquo;s another helpful abbreviation to know: MAP (Manufacturer&rsquo;s Advertised Price). This lower price is the minimum at which most retailers are allowed to sell the item. Salespeople resist consumers who ask for this price and only receive about 7% commission on MAP sales.</p> <h3>Grocery Markups: 5-25%</h3> <p>Grocers certainly operate on slimmer profit margins than most other retailers. According to the Retail Owners Institute, stores typically maintain a narrow margin of 5-8% on the staples and then broaden their margins on luxury or indulgence items (think high-end coffees, chocolate, wines, etc.).</p> <h3>Cosmetics Markups: 60-80%</h3> <p>According to the research firm Euromonitor, the average markup on premium cosmetics is 78%. Since most cosmetics are composed of various combinations of good ol&rsquo; dirt, oil, wax, and fragrance, this relatively small markup adds up to big profits.</p> <h3>Prescription Medicine Markups: 200-5,600%</h3> <p>According to an expose by the Detroit ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV, pharmaceutical companies enjoy a 200-5,600% markup on their drugs in the US. Canada and several European nations impose a ceiling on drug prices and actively negotiate with drug manufacturers to keep costs down. No such safeguards exist here; even generic drugs in the US can be marked up by as much as 1,200%. Sure, development costs are high for some of these life-saving medications, but the markup has no expiration date.</p> <h3>New Car Markups: 8-10%</h3> <p>Not factoring in extended warrantees, finance charges, and other add-ons, auto dealers markup car prices by about 10%. Dealers&rsquo; intricate pricing structures involve invoice prices, transportation charges, dealer holdbacks, and incentives &mdash; enough confusing consumer fodder to fill a dozen articles. Suffice to say, the more you know about the secret cabal of car dealerships and how they arrive at their sticker prices, the better chance you&rsquo;ll have of knowing where to begin your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-laws-of-negotiation" title="The 7 Laws of Negotiation">negotiating</a>.</p> <h3>Eyeglasses Markups: 800-1,000%</h3> <p>It&rsquo;s amazing but true: Some opticians charge 1,000% over wholesale for the hottest designer frames. Malls and larger chain stores are the worst offenders, with many other peripheral costs factored into the price of those fancy frames.</p> <p>I'm not suggesting that retailers shouldn&rsquo;t be paid for the services they offer. Buying low and selling high is as American as apple pie and credit card debt. Retailers often have huge cost-structures to maintain &mdash; all supported by tweaking that markup and (hopefully) influencing consumer behavior by hitting the sweet spot between cost and perceived value. But since this whole system rides on the backs of you and me, isn&rsquo;t it worth unpacking, examining, and understanding exactly what we&rsquo;re paying for?</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fcheat-sheet-retail-markup-on-common-items&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FCheat%20Sheet-%20Retail%20Markup%20on%20Common%20Items.jpg&amp;description=Learn%20How%20to%20Invest%20With%20These%205%20Stock%20Market%20Games" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Cheat%20Sheet-%20Retail%20Markup%20on%20Common%20Items.jpg" alt="Cheat Sheet: Retail Markup on Common Items" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheat-sheet-retail-markup-on-common-items">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-questions-to-ask-before-buying-refurbished-appliances">4 Questions to Ask Before Buying Refurbished Appliances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-everyday-products-with-the-biggest-markups">The 9 Everyday Products With the Biggest Markups</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-classic-impulse-buys-we-need-to-stop-falling-for">10 Classic Impulse Buys We Need to Stop Falling For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-big-at-a-going-out-of-business-sale">How to Save Big at a Going Out of Business Sale</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/i-just-things-should-work-properly-too-mr-dyson">I Just Think Things Should Work Properly too, Mr. Dyson. UPDATED 7/7/09</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping car dealerships clothes shopping eyeglasses holiday shopping markups shopping tips Wed, 15 Dec 2010 15:00:07 +0000 Kentin Waits 388406 at http://www.wisebread.com Make Your Own Deal Tracker http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-own-deal-tracker <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/make-your-own-deal-tracker" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/yahoo-pipes.png" alt="working in Yahoo! Pipes photo" title="working in Yahoo! Pipes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="193" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you are not already familiar with them, websites like <a href="http://www.woot.com/">Woot!</a> and <a href="http://www.steepandcheap.com/">Steep and Cheap</a> offer a single item at a time, often at huge discount, but only until their limited stocks run out. If you need a new piece of travel gear or gadget, these sites can be a great way to find it for cheap. However, they also encourage frequent refreshing, procrastination, and impulse buying.</p> <p>What if there was a way to filter the results so that you were only notified of items you were most interested in?</p> <p>Well, I am going to show you an easy way to do just that.</p> <p><strong>Introduction: RSS and Yahoo! Pipes</strong></p> <p><a href="http://blogs.chicagotribune.com/news_columnists_ezorn/2006/02/23_real_simple_.html">Real Simple Syndication</a>, commonly known as <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rss">RSS</a>, is just an easy way for readers to stay up-to-date with new content on their favorite websites. Using RSS is commonly refered to as &quot;subscribing&quot; because new content is delivered to the reader&#39;s browser or email, eliminating the need for them to visit the site themselves. The major difference between an RSS subscription and most magazine subscriptions is that the former is totally free to use.</p> <p><a href="http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/">Yahoo! Pipes</a> is a fun, straight forward, way to manipulate the information carried by the RSS subscription. I say it is fun because really it is a lot like playing with blocks. Here are five simple steps to creating a custom deal finder with Yahoo! Pipes.</p> <p> <img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u767/yahoo-pipes-one.png" alt="step one image" title="blank yahoo! pipes workspace" width="500" height="271" /> </p> <p><strong>Step One: Grab your sources</strong> </p> <p>The first thing we need to do is insert the RSS links into Yahoo! Pipes. The links themselves can be found on each deal site, marked by either a text link labeled &quot;RSS&quot; or a square, orange, icon. Copy the link from you favorite deal site and head over to Yahoo! Pipes.</p> <p>To create a deal tracking machine, we are going to link several modules together with &quot;pipes.&quot; The first module we want is under &quot;Sources&quot; in the left column and called &quot;Fetch Feed.&quot; Drag the module from the left column into the working area to add it to our machine.</p> <p>In the dialog box on the Fetch Feed module, add the RSS link from your favorite deal site. I did this twice, once for Woot! and once for Steep and Cheap.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u767/yahoo-pipes-two.png" alt="step two photo" title="yahoo! pipes step two" width="500" height="271" /> </p> <p><strong>Step Two: Sort the results</strong></p> <p>The next thing we want to do, is sort the results from the two sites, so that the newest deals will always be at the top of the list. This is easy with the use of the &quot;Sort&quot; module, found under &quot;Operators&quot; on the left side.</p> <p>Connect this module to the first one by clicking the little circle at the bottom of the Fetch Feed module and dragging it to the top ofSort. You should see a &quot;pipe&quot; appear between the two. It&#39;s kind of like connecting the dots.</p> <p>Under the &quot;Sort by&quot; drop-down menu on the Sort module, select, &quot;item.pubDate&quot; and then set it to &quot;descending.&quot; Once that is finished, click the plus sign on the module to create another sort option.</p> <p>Set the second sort option to &quot;item.y:published&quot; and, again, descending.</p> <p>I did this twice, once for each of my RSS links.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u767/yahoo-pipes-three.png" alt="step three photo" title="yahoo pipes step three" width="500" height="271" /> </p> <p><strong>Step Three: Combine the feeds</strong></p> <p><em>Note: If you have only a single Fetch Feed module than you can skip this step.</em></p> <p>If you have been working with the RSS links from two sites like I have, we can now combine them into one. We do this using the &quot;Union&quot; module located under Operators in the left column. After dragging it into the work area, you will see that the module has several input circles but only a single output.</p> <p>Click and drag between the output circle of the Sort module to one of the input circles on the Union module. Do this for each differentSort module you have created.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u767/yahoo-pipes-four.png" alt="step four photo" title="yahoo! pipes step four" width="500" height="271" /> </p> <p><strong>Step Four: Filter the results</strong></p> <p>The goal of this process is to filter the many deals that will appear for things you do not need, from those that you do. We can do this using the &quot;Filter&quot; module, located under Operators in the left column.</p> <p>Once you have dragged the Filter module over from the left column, you will see that you have the option of either blocking or permitting certain items. The easiest thing to do is to permit only the items you are interested in.</p> <p>As an example, lets say I am interested in buying a new winter jacket. I would set the Filter to &quot;permit items that contain all of the following.&quot; For the rule, I would select &quot;item.description&quot; from the first dialog box, leave &quot;Contains&quot; selected in the second, and type &quot;jackets&quot; into theword box at the end. That&#39;s it.</p> <p>We are almost done, but I like to do one more thing to limit the results I recieve. Drag the &quot;Truncate&quot; module from the Operators section in the left column and connect it below the Filter module. Set this to however many results you want to see. Something like two, five, ten, so on.</p> <p>Now is also the time to connect a pipe between the bottom of the Truncate module to the &quot;Pipe Output&quot; module.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u767/yahoo-pipes-five.png" alt="step five photo" title="yahoo! pipes step five" width="500" height="271" /> </p> <p><strong>Step Five: Grab your feed</strong></p> <p>Once you have connected to the Pipe Output module, click save and name your new feed.</p> <p>Once created, there are many ways you can view the results of your new deal-tracker feed. If you click &quot;Run Pipe,&quot; you will notice that you can view the results on that page, add them to a Yahoo! or Google homepage, get them sent to your phone or email, or view them through any other RSS reader. How you view the results is up to you.</p> <p>Once you find that great deal on a winter jacket, simply go back in, edit you Filter to permit a different item, and save the Pipe again.</p> <p>Deal-a-day sites can be a great way to find discounts on items you do not urgently need. To beat their impulse buying trap, try using the free and powerful Yahoo! Pipes tool to create your own deal tracker.</p> <p><em>What is your experience with Yahoo! Pipes? What are your favorite deal-a-day websites? Let us know in the comments.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/david-defranza">David DeFranza</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-own-deal-tracker">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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