Consumer Tips Articles

How to Avoid Vending Machines

Vending Machines Offer Convenience but at a High Price

If you want to be more like the savvy consumers you know, you should try your best to avoid vending machines. Certainly, vending machines are a godsend on some occasions. If you have a cranky toddler and he can be calmed down by cheese crackers shaped like goldfish, vending machines can begin to feel like your best friend. However, vending machines charge a high price for their convenience. Savvy consumers rarely use vending machines due to the high cost of the items they contain.

Read More…

Putting Together a Child Protection Plan

If you’ve got kids, a child protection plan is a must. Here are some guidelines to consider.

A formal child protection plan is one of those things every parent should draft, but that many of us never seem to get around to. Yet it’s an absolutely necessity, so that you can specify who you want to act as your child’s guardian if there’s an emergency, or if you should die suddenly.

Read More…

Phone for Cash Deals: Are They Safe?

Lately, companies that let you trade your old cell phone for cash have gotten a lot of media attention. But should you take advantage of their offers?

In recent months, you may have seen so-called “phone for cash” companies featured in the media and thought, “Hmmm, that might be a way to make a little money to put toward Junior’s orthodontia.” Basically, these organizations offer to pay you cash for your old cell phones, if you’ll just send them in.

Read More…

A Couple of Common Money Wasters to Avoid

Sometimes, you can profit more by avoiding money wasters than you can by pinching pennies

As a savvy consumer, I suspect that money wasters are among your pet peeves… and I don’t blame you. Wasting money seems to be the American Way. But ironically, even those of us committed to saving cash can be blind to our own money wasting habits.

Read More…

How to Avoid ATM Fees

Tired of being stuck with ATM fees when you need cash? Here are a few ways to avoid them

Automatic teller machines can be incredibly convenient devices, especially when you’re stuck without much-needed cash — but paying up to $5 in ATM fees to access your own money can be a real pain in the rear. It behooves you, then, to find ways to avoid sticking yourself with such fees.

Read More…

A Simple Way to Save a Wet Cell Phone

A wet cell phone can set you back hundreds of dollars in replacement fees… but what if you had a way to fix it?

Sadly, Your Humble Writer has needed to replace more than one wet cell phone in the past. Let’s see, there was the one my niece dropped in the swimming pool, the one I left out in the rain, and, embarrassingly, the one I dropped in the toilet. If only I’d known the trick for drying them out!

A sweet customer service rep revealed this trick to me when I went in to have my latest phone checked, when the battery was on the fritz. Lo and behold, it worked!

Read More…

Keep An Eye Out for Product Recalls

As a savvy consumer, you should always keep an eye open for product recalls.

Given the huge economy we enjoy here in the U.S. (and the watchdog organizations that keep an eye on it), it’s inevitable that there would be fairly frequent product recalls. They’ve affected us all at some time or another, generally because something didn’t go right with a common product.

Read More…

Newspaper Subscriptions: Are They Still Worth the Cost?

Should you bother with newspaper subscriptions these days? Let’s look at the pros and cons.

Like so many things that we examine in these hallowed pages, newspaper subscriptions aren’t terribly expensive. With very few exceptions, you may spend $90-125 per year to enjoy home delivery via paperboy, and generally less than $200 for mail delivery.

This is generally true even of small town newspapers. In fact, big city papers can cost less, given economies of scale. Of course, if you’re receiving the New York Times in Cleveland or L.A., you can expect to pay more. But the price probably won’t be too bad.

Read More…

Know Your Cancellation Rights

Contract cancellation rights vary from state to state, but you should know the basics.

When most of us sign contracts for goods or services, our cancellation rights never even cross our minds — if, in fact, we’re aware of them at all. But the truth is, cancellation is one of your basic consumer rights, so as a savvy consumer it’s a good idea to know when and how to take advantage of it.

So let’s take a look at your rights of cancellation under American law.

Read More…

More Money Saving Microwave Tips

Here are a few more microwave tips that can help you save a little money

In a recent article, I shared a few microwave tips that can help you save cash here and there, mostly by extending the shelf-life of edibles and revitalizing items like masking tape. But all that was just a drop in the bucket, really.

The fact is, you can do all kinds of things cheaply with a microwave oven… if you know how to do them right. In this article, for example, we’ll take the guesswork out of cooking several things you might not expect to work in a microwave, so you don’t have to experiment and suffer wastage.

Read More…