alert en-US 7 Ways to Boost Your Energy and Get More Done <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-boost-your-energy-and-get-more-done" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Couple jumping" title="Couple jumping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're feeling sluggish and can't seem to get anything done, perhaps it's time to work on your internal store of energy. By reinvigorating yourself, you'll be able to get more things done and have an easier time completing tasks. Here are changes you can make in your lifestyle to increase your energy.</p> <p><a href="">RELATED:&nbsp;Alternative Treatments for Relaxation</a></p> <h2>Get Better Sleep</h2> <p>Sleep is key when it comes to fatigue. It's a time when your body rests and regenerates itself for yet another day. If you're having problems with sleep, get a physical to first see if there's something off with your body healthwise. Perhaps you aren't getting enough iron, or maybe there's a deeper health issue that needs to be rectified like thyroid problems. Start practicing good sleep habits like going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, making sure you're only exposed to dim lighting when it's close to bedtime, and experimenting to find your sleep sweet spot to make sure you're not sleeping too much or too little. Here are more suggestions on <a href="">how to improve your sleep</a>.</p> <h2>Move Around More</h2> <p>Even though it may seem like exercising will make you more tired, the truth is, engaging in physical activity will increase your energy. Set a regular schedule and try to work out at least three times a week. And if you're feeling like you're stuck in a slump at work, even a brisk 10-minute walk will energize you. Challenge yourself by taking the stairs and investing in a <a target="_blank" href=";ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1346176524&amp;sr=1-2">pedometer</a> ($22, originally $32) to motivate you. A pedometer is basically a gadget that measures how much you walk a day. The recommended amount of steps for an active lifestyle is <a target="_blank" href="">10,000 a day</a>.</p> <h2>Clean Your Home</h2> <p>Your home is a place for you to unwind and relax, so having a cluttered home can make you antsy. Gazing upon a mound of clothing instead of open, clean space is enough to make anyone stressed out. Having an untidy home is like facing a visible, never-ending to-do list all the time. Give yourself a break and start tackling the clutter in your home. If it seems overwhelming, start by resolving to dispose of one type of item a day. Here's <a href="">a list</a> to get you started.</p> <h2>Eat and Drink Right</h2> <p>You are what you eat, and what you ingest can definitely have a big impact on your energy. What you drink is also important; being dehydrated can make you feel fatigued. Drinking too much coffee can lead you to crash after the effect wears off. Too much sugar can also spike your blood sugar, which, although it can give you a boost of energy, will quickly drop and leave you feeling more tired than ever. Watch what you eat and what you drink. Drinking coffee or alcohol too close to bedtime can also affect your sleep.</p> <h2>Have Some &quot;Me&quot; Time</h2> <p>Take a moment to yourself to relax after a long day. It's important to manage your stress levels because stress can definitely sap your energy. Read a favorite book or watch a funny YouTube video to kick back and relax. Be sure to pick an activity that won't stress you out even further. For example, watching reality TV can possibly put someone in a more negative frame of mind.</p> <h2>Meditate</h2> <p>Pick up the fine art of meditation; it can work wonders for your brain and even help you bounce back better from stress. In fact, <a target="_blank" href="">scientists have found</a> that people who have trained in meditation have different brain activity than those who haven't trained. They respond better to situations that would cause us to lose emotional control.</p> <h2>Take a Break</h2> <p>Perhaps what you really need is a break from work. Go on a vacation to relieve your stress and renew your energy.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> If you&#039;re sleepy, sluggish, or feeling sapped, don&#039;t just sit there — try these tricks to get your energy back up. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p style="text-align:center;"><a style="border:none;" href=""><img alt="" src="" /></a></p> <p><em>This is a guest contribution from our friends at </em><a href=""><em>SavvySugar</em></a><em>. Check out more useful articles from this partner:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="">The Key to&nbsp;Doing More in&nbsp;Less Time</a></li> <li><a href="">How Sleep Affects Productivity</a></li> <li><a href="">9 Cleaning&nbsp;Products That Will&nbsp;Change You&nbsp;Life</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">POPSUGAR Smart Living</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">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="">Talking Trash: Is Your Messy Mind the Cause of Your Messy House?</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="">7 Times You&#039;re Wasting Mental Energy Without Realizing It</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="">Feeling Stuck? 100 Ways to Change Your Life</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="">10 Ways to Improve Your Decision-Making Skills</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="">5 Apps That Pay You To Exercise</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development alert decluttering energy sleep well Mon, 03 Sep 2012 10:36:42 +0000 POPSUGAR Smart Living 952467 at DON'T Buy It Now on eBay without using cashback <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-buy-it-now-on-ebay-without-using-livecom-cashback" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src=" Search Products 3D.png" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="169" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've been saving money with your online purchases thanks to Wise Bread, but wanna save even more? I know that got <em>your</em> attention.</p> <p>Periodically, <a target="_blank" href=""><strong>eBay</strong></a><strong> and Microsoft's <a href=""></a> run a joint promotion to award you cashback</strong>. It's plausibly beneficial for them because it drives traffic and ad revenue to Live amidst Google's dominance. Whatever the reasons, here's basically how it works:</p> <ol> <li>Sign up for a <a href=""> account</a>.</li> <li>Do a search for a <strong>keyword match like &quot;</strong><a href=";go=&amp;form=QBLH"><strong>bullion</strong></a><strong>&quot;</strong>. A special link notifying you of a % cashback offer appears.</li> <li>Click the link and purchase an eligible item &mdash; so far, they've been <strong>&quot;Buy It Now&quot; with PayPal</strong>, not regular auctions.</li> <li>Cashback either gets awarded within a 60-day window, or in some cases (apparently random), instantly.</li> </ol> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>You can read the <a href="">terms and conditions</a>, which include a limit of total cashback and transactions.</p> <h2>Too good to be true?</h2> <p>At one point, I was skeptical &mdash; 35% cashback!? &mdash; but this is from eBay and Microsoft, not some shady fly-by-night operation. Alas, today the <strong>cashback is lower, at 10%, but up from 8% in days earlier</strong>. (But down from 14% that.) How do I know?</p> <h2>Use these tools</h2> <p>There's a useful tool called <a href=""><strong>MS eBay Cashback % Notifier</strong></a>, thanks to a &quot;Waffle S.S.&quot; aka Abe Voelker. It does what it claims: enter a target cashback value and your email address. When it hits or exceeds that mark, you'll be notified as I was today:</p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>If you'd rather not do that, you can setup a <strong><a href=";do=search&amp;q=deal+alerts+faq&amp;match=all&amp;titlesonly=0">Deal Alert</a></strong> at which'll inform you of <a href=";t=1339763">epic threads like this</a>.</p> <p>I've earned over $600 cashback since my purchases last year &mdash; heck, that's enough to buy a <a href="">Mac mini</a>, or a combination of things you deem valuable. Each of us has our priorities; just don't go spending on eBay without this advantage.</p> <h2>Tips</h2> <ul> <li>Many retail stores, including <a href=""></a> and <a href="">Tiger Direct</a>, and specialty goods like <a href="">Nova Musik</a>, have eBay presences in addition to their dot-com webshops. Compare the prices, and if they and other factors are equivalent, you'll <strong>save by buying through eBay with cashback</strong>.</li> <li>With competing listings around the same total price range, <strong>focus on where shipping is included</strong> in the &quot;Buy It Now&quot; price and (often) advertised as &quot;free shipping&quot;. Why? Because cashback applies to the item price but <em>not</em> to shipping. Try asking a seller if they'd be willing to make a change for you.</li> <li><strong>Watch cashback phases like a hawk</strong>, because when it ascends to a lucrative percentage, many eBay sellers jack up their prices to nullify any cashback advantage.</li> <li>On occasion, <strong>some keywords return higher cashback than others</strong>. Stay on top of these, too.</li> <li><strong>Don't hold out too long if it's a matter of a few dollars</strong>; it's a sort of gamble, as the people waiting for 14% cashback to climb to 20% or higher recently found out when it dropped to 8%.</li> </ul> <p><strong><em>Have you saved big with eBay's cashback? Have tips for using it more effectively? Let me know in the comments!</em></strong></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Torley Wong</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">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="">Modifiers: 5 things that change an item&#039;s final price</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="">The Awesome Art of Getting Great Deals Online</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="">Why Do We Feel Buyer’s Remorse, Anyway?</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="">How to Use New Toys to Teach Kids About Money</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="">Don&#039;t Get Taken: How to Evaluate an Exchange Rate</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping alert back buy cash cashback eBay Microsoft money paypal search slickdeals Sat, 09 May 2009 04:19:29 +0000 Torley Wong 3144 at The Awesome Art of Getting Great Deals Online <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-awesome-art-of-getting-great-deals-online" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ah, the modern marvels of being able to type a few things in, click your mouse, and have a desired object delivered to your place in a few days. Even tumultuous economic conditions don't mean so-called ecommerce is going away; rather, it stresses being a savvy, frugal shopper, and opens up opportunities for businesses to attract your attention.</p> <p>Whether it's buying or building, <strong>being resourceful helps you score the same great stuff at lower prices, and possibly faster delivery</strong>. (Think MacGyver marrying the A-Team.) The following isn't an exhaustive guide to each and every to-do under the sun, but it <em>is</em> experience-worn advice which I'll gladly impart for your benefit. It mainly concentrates on buying in the US of A, but the principles are mostly true worldwide. I'll also specify for the scope of this article, by &quot;Stuff&quot;, I mean possessions you can carry (like a microwave) or at the most, can transport around (like a car) &mdash; so, not a new house.</p> <p><em>Let's dive in with the spirit of Scrooge McDuck, then!</em></p> <h2>Know where you're looking</h2> <p>Some questions have very easy answers. If you're looking for books and other sundry merchandise, you'll almost always go right with Yes, I know it has competitors &mdash; as well as other sellers which've partnered with it &mdash; but 2 special things call it out:</p> <ol> <li><strong><a href="">Amazon Prime</a></strong> - If you're a shopaholic, even a thrifty one, it's currently US$80/year for free 2-day shipping. Other details apply, but if you buy frequently enough &mdash; say, at least a dozen times a year &mdash; this will have you covered both cost- and convenience-wise. Of course, they do this to make you buy more! So don't spend just because you want to, but consider how it fits your lifestyle, and try their free 1-month trial.</li> <li><strong>Amazon's service</strong> - It's not just about the raw dollar, it's about the smile on your face. I've had questions about my orders and confusion about pricing, and I've consistently received timely, pleasant replies. That peace of mind pays for itself, and serves as a model of what you should expect elsewhere.</li> </ol> <p>I give the obligatory disclaimer that I'm not professionally affiliated with Amazon &mdash; just a happy customer many times over that cites them as an &quot;example megahub&quot; for many goods.</p> <p><em>Let's open it up&hellip;</em></p> <p>You'll want to be familiar with the major deals sites. There are <em>many</em> out there which duplicate the same style and deals, so here are a few I check daily &mdash; they're all stored as bookmarks in my Firefox toolbar, <strong><em>highly</em> recommended for saving time via &quot;Open All in Tabs&quot;</strong>:</p> <ul> <li><strong><a href="">Woot</a></strong> - I was drawn to their flavorful copywriting. Aside from their famed &quot;Woot-Offs&quot; and &quot;Bags of crap&quot;, they sell ONE thing a day. Sometimes it's what you're looking for. Often it's not. But they're full of whimsy and fun, and fill a great niche.</li> <li><strong><a href="">DealsPlus</a></strong> - Some deals site make the horrendous mistake of piling on more text than you'll care to parse. DealsPlus is very visual, providing thumbnails and a quick-browse summary of each deal.</li> <li><strong><a href="">Dealhack</a></strong> - In the &quot;More text but not so much that it makes your eyes fall out&quot; dept., they also provide a very thumbnail-ish view, with a vertically-designed navigation. So get your scroll wheel ready and skim down.</li> <li><strong><a href=";view=large"></a></strong> - Again, good use of thumbnails (I find they make browsing a <em>lot</em> easier). Wider layout than Dealhack, and as you gain experience, you'll notice when the same popular deals appear on different sites. But what I like here is the quick summary of the hottest stuff at the very top.</li> <li><a href=""><strong> Forums</strong></a> - Disparate deals sites have forums. Among the best is SlickDeals. They also have their own front page, but I heart their forums because of the unadulterated spontaneity of excitement that punches through the hype. You can smell it in the air &mdash; like the inevitable scramble for cheap hard drives before they're OoS (Out of Stock)! And to make this sound more like a restaurant guide, be sure to check out the offerings of the legendary <a href=";showposts=0&amp;starteronly=1&amp;searchuserid=65229&amp;forumchoice[]=9">Selma</a>, a gothy deal-sharer who's posted 50,000+ times. If you feel lost, look for the thumbs-up ratings and # of thread views you can sort.</li> <li><strong><a href="">FatWallet</a></strong> - Finally, a site without &quot;deals&quot; in the name. They tend to broadcast deals which are broadly advertised by stores themselves (as opposed to &quot;secret coupons&quot;). Part of the reason behind this is that they offer <a href="">cashback &amp; coupons</a>. I haven't really used their cashback, but I think FatWallet's a fine overview of the more commercial (for lack of a better term) bargains.</li> </ul> <p>Be brave to explore beyond these, and let me know what gems you uncover and have missed! For example, <a href=""><strong></strong></a> reigns surpreme in Canada. The jungle o' deals is thick, indeed.</p> <p>By immersing yourself in deals sites, you'll become familiar with which stores are favored by veteran dealhunters. E.g., you'll often see <a href=""></a> and <a href="">NewEgg</a> mentioned for computer gear. And a sensible way to get a grasp on various stores is to see their customer feedback on eBay (if they have a presence there), or search <strong><a href="">ResellerRatings</a></strong>. Don't zoom in on outliers (the occasional bad review), look for <em>consistency</em>.</p> <p>Beyond mere observation, <em>do</em> chat up with your fellow dealhunters &mdash; especially those who know a lot more. They'll save you dollars and hardship.</p> <h2>Know what you're looking for</h2> <p>Were you expecting something less obvious? That's coming up soon! But for now, I'll say&hellip;</p> <p>It's fun to browse bargain sites. It's also time-consuming if you do it too much, and while it may inform you of what fair prices are for various items, it also tends to be unfocused.</p> <p>Give yourself a direction, and at the very least, <strong>take advantage of the &quot;deal alerts&quot; most bargain sites make available</strong>. These come in varying forms, but tend to work like this: you enter keyword(s) and frequency of when you want to be notified. They'll ping (via onsite notice, email, and in some cases SMS) you when new deals are available.</p> <p>This is useful, by the way, if you just missed a substantial rebate on an item and are waiting for it to come around again. Chances are high it will (unless an item's being discontinued). If you don't really want a gadget, don't fall for ad pressure to &quot;ACT NOW BECAUSE SUPPLIES ARE LIMITED!&quot; because if something's really in demand, they'll want to sell more of it. I rebate-waited and got my Logitech diNovo Edge keyboard for US$50 cheaper &mdash; a price that'd command a fair meal!</p> <p>Emphasis on <em>rebate-waited</em>, because&hellip;</p> <h2>Mail-in rebates will make you wait</h2> <p>a LONG time. Not always, but often enough for it to be a point of consideration, especially if finances are tight. You may see estimated expectations of &quot;6-8 weeks&quot;, and these tend to be pretty common. Thankfully, some companies like Logitech do email you to check your rebate status online, along with an estimated mail date for your cheque.</p> <p>That's why <strong>if you can't wait, don't depend on mail-in rebates</strong>. And be wary of companies that've been called out by expert dealhunters as scams, because while the majority aren't, lack of communication does create that perception. Thus, my fave kind of rebate is the instant rebate.</p> <p>You may be wondering then, besides the understandable processing time, why so long a wait for MIRs? <a href="">Wikipedia has the backstory.</a></p> <h2>Be smart about coupons &amp; price comparison</h2> <p><a href=""><strong></strong></a> isn't just a beautiful site, it makes it very easy to look for discount coupons. I've regretted not checking here in the past because I discovered a substantial savings <em>after</em> I bought something &mdash; talk about buyer's remorse! So whenever I have a significant (obviously relative, but a good rule of thumb is above US$200) purchase, I fire up RetailMeNot and do the groundwork.</p> <p><strong>For price comparison, </strong><a href=""><strong>Shopzilla</strong></a><strong> and </strong><a href=""><strong></strong></a><strong> are your friends.</strong> Use them and if they're really useful, you'll keep using them.</p> <p>Major search engines, like Google, also have their own price comparisons, and links to <em>many</em> others. Through experience, naturally find what works for you.</p> <p>After practicing coupons &amp; price comparison for a few weeks, odds are high you'll spot diminishing returns. For instance, it's not healthy to spend half an hour trying to save US$2. <strong>Aim for the big savings, stack coupons whenever possible (<em>mmmm</em>, compound discounts), and be quick.</strong></p> <h2>Be quick (Part II)</h2> <p>Hot deals often sell out very quickly. (Not to be confused by artificial pressure like &quot;ACT NOW!&quot; mentioned above.) That's why it's important for you to have a solid understanding of the context you're involved in: for example, on deals forums, you'll notice a few of the same posters grab deal after deal and boast about it. (There's a certain social bonding that comes when you become an involved member of deal-communities.) This, like any other acquired skill, comes with extended practice. Have your alerts set up so you can pounce on deals that matter. <strong>The most advanced dealhunters use automation, like </strong><a href=""><strong>macros</strong></a><strong>, to cut down on tedious steps and jump to the front of the virtual checkout line.</strong></p> <p>What also counts for a lot: <strong>have accounts pre-setup with payment info at the sites you want to shop from</strong>. You want to be selective with who you give your personal info to, but if it's a reputable store, your data should be safe, in all practical likelihood. This saves you the trouble of having to fumble with a credit card # when it comes down to crunch time. I once missed out on a hot MP3 player sale at Woot because I hadn't signed up for an account yet &mdash; I learned my lesson!</p> <h2>Don't be fooled by fake free shipping</h2> <p>If an item is a fine price <em>and</em> has free shipping, then <em>praise be!</em> But, <strong>sometimes &quot;free shipping&quot; is deceptive, because the shipping cost is absorbed in a jacked-up item cost</strong>. For example, I saw a pair of headphones on eBay for US$20 that claimed &quot;free shipping&quot;. The same pair could be found elsewhere for US$15 with approx. US$5 shipping clearly stated, so it's really not a better deal.</p> <p>The inverse is also true: beware of inordinate shipping costs. And taxes. A number of stores charge <a href="">sales tax</a> if you buy in-state/province/region &mdash; <a href="">see Amazon's policy</a> &mdash; and while sometimes this is unavoidable due to a lack of alternatives, it's worth keeping in mind. While tax laws are out-of-scope of this article, you won't ever regret being prepared and being aware.</p> <p>Do your best to <strong>find out a store's shipping costs <em>beforehand</em></strong> so you can factor that in ASAP.</p> <h2>Look for gems with eBay's Buy It Now</h2> <p><a href=""><strong>eBay</strong></a> is synonymous with popularizing and dominating online auctions. While it's still famous for auctions, gems (not just in the mineral sense) can be found by way of many smaller stores which are trying to build their presence and business via eBay's big visibility.</p> <p>Often, this is new or refurbished/B-stock material with warranty which is sent to you not from an individual, but a company. And it has a &quot;Buy It Now&quot; graphic to indicate such. (It may or may not have a corresponding auction if you want to try your hand at getting it for lower.)</p> <p>Buy It Now can be good for rarer, but not highly obscure goods. There're sometimes <strong>package deals</strong> &mdash; like a digital camera that comes with a case + memory card + mini-tripod + extra battery at the same cost of the camera alone elsewhere.</p> <p>In my web browser, I often have one tab opened on eBay and another opened on Amazon, and I do searches and compare. To supplement my info when it's tough to tell, I use the comparison shopping resources mentioned above.</p> <p>While it's past, much of a dealhunter ballyhoo was made about <a href=";t=952519"><strong>Microsoft's 25% cashback through eBay</strong></a> (apparently, it was 35% last time it came 'round). Being on top of opportunities like these can sweeten already honey-soaked deals. Make sure you read the terms and conditions and revel in the savings.</p> <h2>Do your best to assure the clothing fits</h2> <p>Measure yourself accurately. <a href="">My wife</a> stresses how important this is, because we've been subject to inaccurate pictures and vague sense of scale when buying clothes online. I thought a pair of pants, despite the specs, would fit me snugly. Turns out they're baggy as heck! While I haven't opted for an accompanying pair of suspenders since they're surprisingly comfy, my position still stands.</p> <p>A good &quot;fit&quot; is also transferably applicable to non-clothing goods which you may feel compelled to see in-person, like TVs and flat panel monitors: a JPG picture can't give you its actual display quality, but if your local store's stock costs much more than what's online, it's fair to compare. (A store's physical presence can add to the cost.)</p> <p>Some stores offer 3D 360-degree views of their merchandise, but this is still a novelty, rather than a common staple. Still worth looking out for.</p> <h2>Keep customer service and return policy close</h2> <p>I'll often tell you: it's not just about the $$$. Saving a few bucks isn't worth it if you have a problem with your order and the merchants turn out to be jerks! <strong>You'd rather much have prompt, friendly &quot;service with a smile&quot; than being unheard or being treated rudely.</strong></p> <p>Consumer reviews often keep track of this, combining real stories with numerical ratings. And your own experiences will be the most visceral. <strong>If you're cautious, why not send an email or make a phone call <em>before</em> buying anything?</strong> Test the waters. See how they respond and if that makes you comfortable. Above any human-constructed currency, feeling good and expressing our identity through what we buy is an intriguing psychological phenomenon, and great customer service goes a long way towards reinforcing our beliefs.</p> <p>If a store has a brick-and-mortar presence (like Old Navy), then you'll likely be able to return merchandise to a nearby store. If you live in the boonies, it may not as be as convenient, but good to know. If a store only allows you to mail a package back, verify who'd be responsible for postage costs beforehand, and be intimate with their <a href="">RMA</a> policy. <strong>A key keyphrase is: <em>hassle-free</em>.</strong></p> <h2>Get ready to recycle</h2> <p>If you buy stuff online, it's going to come in a box. And if it arrives at your house, soon, you'll have a whole extended family of boxes, <em>yes sirree</em>, with itty-bitty baby boxes, and big grandparent boxes. So you'll either want to use those boxes to do something else, or have them recycled or otherwise disposed of.</p> <p>It's an omnipresent, yet understated part of getting great deals.</p> <h2>Time-shift your holidays</h2> <p>Lastly, I'll suggest something unorthodox which you may not be able to do, especially if you're under social pressure from your family &amp; friends. But consider liberating yourself because of this: when is Halloween and Easter candy cheapest? <em>No</em>, not in the stretch leading up to the holiday &mdash; look at the markdown prices <em>after!</em> This is easily observable in both offline and online stores, but it goes to show: <strong>when something's out of style/season and perceived value is less, prices plummet</strong>.</p> <p>By being &quot;out of sync&quot; with society at large and other cultural waves, <strong>you can create your own opportunities to acquire the same stuff at much-reduced prices</strong>. Granted, I feel strongly about this because my family used to wait until after Christmas to grab boxes of bonbons and ornaments to prepare for the <em>next</em> year, but there's much truth&hellip; once you break free of generic trappings. (And I'm partially referring to Boxing Day sales, but saturated marketing of Dec. 26th has created its own traps.)</p> <p>This is awesome news if you're flexible about traditional holidays. Clearly not for everyone &mdash; but <strong>if you can be an exception, consider yourself exceptional</strong>.</p> <h2>Happy buying!</h2> <p>While the above should never be considered an end-all or be-all since the Art of Getting Great Deals Online will continue to adapt and evolve, I hope my personal experiences and specific suggestions will <em>enlighten</em> you to discover the joy of consumerism in refreshing and eclectic ways.</p> <p>Devoted dealhunters know that saving money goes beyond lopping off a fraction of the price &mdash; it's a <em>way of life</em>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Torley Wong</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">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-5"> <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="">Modifiers: 5 things that change an item&#039;s final price</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="">7 Retailers With the Absolute Best Customer Service</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="">7 Best Discount Shopping Days of the Year</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="">Make Money and Declutter by Selling These 5 Unlikely Treasures</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="">16 Amazon Deal Hacks You May Not Already Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping alert Amazon clothes coupon customer service deals eBay fake free shipping holiday macro mail-in rebate mir recycle retailmenot Fri, 24 Apr 2009 00:11:19 +0000 Torley Wong 3081 at More children hurt in Crocs-related accidents. <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/more-children-hurt-in-crocs-related-accidents" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Crocs injury" title="Crocs injury" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Some of you may recall <a href="/crocs-bite-shoes-pose-danger-on-escalators">my recent article</a> on the inherent dangers of wearing Crocs on escalators. Well, the misery, pain and nasty injuries continue to happen. Since writing the article I have heard more horror stories, including one sent to us by Wisebread reader Dindin. His daughter’s foot was inside the mangled Croc pictured above, and she was lucky to come away from the accident in one piece. </p> <p>With Dindin’s kind permission I am reprinting his letter to us, along with the pictures that accompanied it. Please, take the time to read it, the story is one that could easily happen to your child or a child you know.</p> <blockquote><p><em>“Crocs are Unsafe for Riding Escalators! </em></p> <p><em>This is not the first time an accident involving children, escalators and<br />rubber clogs has happened</em>.</p> <p><img src="" alt="Andie injury" title="Andie injury" width="327" height="236" /></p></blockquote> <blockquote><p><em>14,200 search results turned out when I typed &quot;crocs,escalator,injury&quot; on<br />Google. My three-year-old daughter&#39;s toe injury caused by her right Croc <br />getting caught in the side of an escalator is not an isolated case, and many<br />more injuries could follow unless substantial solutions are delivered at the<br />soonest possible time.</em></p> <p><em>Parents, mall operators, and the company or companies behind the manufacture <br />and sale of Crocs footwear should act immediately to put an end to the<br />disturbing number of accidents involving Crocs and escalator mechanisms.</em></p> <p><em>What happens is that the slip-resistant quality of the footwear, ironically <br />the same quality that ranks among its unique selling points, causes it to<br />adhere to the side of a moving escalator upon contact. Resulting injuries<br />have ranged from simple scratches to toes being actually ripped off. (I <br />found a collection of news stories on <a href="" title=""></a>.<br />That there is such a site should speak for the gravity of the situation.)</em></p> <p><em>There is no point in raising arguments along the lines of escalators being <br />inherently dangerous for children, or of the possibility of similar<br />accidents with every other kind of footwear, or of parents being solely<br />responsible for the safety of their children when under their care. The fact <br />is that so many children have been hurt because the traction of their clogs<br />is unsuitable for escalators. This danger had come to our attention prior to<br />the accident involving my very own daughter, which is why we are always very <br />careful when making her ride the escalator with her Crocs on. She even<br />constantly recites the line &quot;stay on the center,&quot; as we always remind her to<br />do so. But it just took a millisecond for us to fall victim to an already <br />familiar mishap. Being careful just wasn&#39;t enough.</em></p> <p><em>Parents, stop making your children wear Crocs in malls. Believe me when I<br />say that you can never be too careful when it comes to the nasty combination<br />of Crocs and escalators.</em></p> <p><em>Mall operators, adopt more child-friendly measures. Post visible notices on<br />the dangers of wearing rubber clogs on escalators. Make known the presence<br />of emergency stop buttons. Make your security guards aware of the alarming <br />number of escalator accidents and train them to render urgent responses.<br />This is not just token advocacy; this actually makes good business sense.</em></p> <p><em>To the company or companies manufacturing and selling Crocs, mark your <br />products accordingly. Indicate that they are not safe for riding escalators<br />because, really, they aren&#39;t. Stop saying that they are completely safe. You<br />owe this to the children who love your shoes. My daughter owns three pairs <br />of Crocs- a pair of Caymans, a pair of Athens and a pair of Mary Janes. That&#39;s<br />how she likes wearing those clogs. Even the first words that came out of her<br />mouth after her tiny scream of pain were, &quot;My Crocs! My Crocs!&quot;.</em> </p> </blockquote> <blockquote><p><img src="" alt="mangled croc" title="mangled croc" width="277" height="185" /></p> <p><em>Andie is fine now. After the accident, which happened in Megamall at around<br />9pm of August 19, we rushed her to the Medical City where she got the proper<br />treatment for her wounds (no quick first aid response in the mall, we had to <br />run from building B to building A where we were parked. but that&#39;s another<br />issue), x-rays of both her feet, and a tetanus shot. All her toes are intact<br />and the wounds she got were merely superficial, thank God. With the way her <br />right foot bled and with the hideous torn and deformed state of her Crocs<br />right after the accident, we thought the injury would be much worse.</em> </p> </blockquote> <blockquote><p><img src="" alt="Andie injury 2" title="Andie injury 2" width="191" height="286" /></p> <p><em>But will she ride the escalator again with as much self-confidence as she&#39;s <br />always had before the accident? We pray that she does. Trauma is not healed<br />with a simple wound dressing and tetanus shot.”</em></p> </blockquote> <p>The story was even covered on the news in the Philippines. You don&#39;t need to speak the language to get the clear message. </p> <p><object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase=",0,29,0" width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="" /><param name="quality" value="high" /><param name="menu" value="false" /><param name="wmode" value="" /><embed src="" wmode="" quality="high" menu="false" pluginspage="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="350"></embed></object></p> <p>It’s good to know that little Andie came out of it ok, although I suspect the psychological damage could be worse than the injury itself. But why are so many kids getting involved in accidents? I did a little digging of my own. </p> <p>I typed in “Crocs” and “injury” and over 309,000 hits were returned. When I added “escalator” it was still almost 37,000 results. Is this acceptable? Not to me. However, when I replaced the word “Crocs” with “Sneaker” the results went up. So, does this mean all shoes pose a hazard on escalators? Well, use your common sense. Crocs have been on the market for just a fraction of the time that sneakers have, and yet the injuries with Crocs are snowballing. </p> <p>What causes the injuries? Time after time the message I’m getting is that the very design of the Croc is magnifying the chance of an accident. As Dindin points out, the rubber material that the Croc is made of helps with traction, but it also grabs on to other materials (such as those of a moving escalator). And the loose-fitting, pliable quality of a Croc means it’s more likely to be sucked down the edge of the escalator.</p> <p>Should Crocs be banned? For adults, no, of course not. I’ve heard many positive things about them, especially in the medical industry. And my dad swears by them for things like gardening. But the question of them being suitable for children outside of the home is definitely one for serious debate. And until we can figure out how to keep our children safe when they’re in a mall or other area involving escalators, I personally believe that you should keep your kids away from Crocs, at least when your children are outside of the safety of your home.</p> <p>Andie is going to be fine, thankfully. But how much longer will it be before I’m writing a third article with a far more serious and tragic outcome? I hope it never happens.</p> <p>Further reading.</p> <p><a href=""></a> </p> <p><a href=""></a> </p> <p><a href=""></a> </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">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="">Crocs bite! Shoes pose danger on escalators.</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="">Crocs escalator update: $7 million lawsuit filed</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="">Your SSN Can Now Be Accurately Guessed Using Date and Place of Birth</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="">Are you giving burglars the key to your home?</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="">Two More Crafty Ways to Steal From You - GPS Units and Cell Phones.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs alert Crocs danger escalators injuries malls safety Thu, 30 Aug 2007 23:19:10 +0000 Paul Michael 1064 at