About Alison Storm
Have you ever signed up for something thinking it was free, only to get charged for it later on? The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) receives thousands of complaints from consumers scammed by free offers that suddenly turn very costly. Here are some of the most common free offers that can become expensive mistakes, plus tips for avoiding these unwanted expenses.
Gone are the days of vanishing Tickle Me Elmo dolls and Zu Zu Pets that disappear off store shelves in a matter of minutes. This year the hottest holiday toys are guaranteed to be under your Christmas tree thanks to a new program unveiled by Toys 'R' Us. The Hot Toy Reservation program gives parents a chance to wow their kids without having to fight crowds. But don't plan on showing up to your local toy store the day before Christmas. Check out these tips for taking full advantage of this new way of shopping for the hottest holiday toys of 2012.
Expecting parents can also expect something else-- to spend a lot of money on baby stuff. They may be little, but babies can be expensive. As many as two in five parents say they weren't as prepared as they thought for the cost of a new baby, according to a study by REDBOOK. Data from the Department of Agriculture reveals that what parents spend on baby's first year depends on income and ranges from about $7,000 to $14,000. But no matter what your income level, spending less on things like diapers, cribs, and strollers is always a plus. A great way to do that is by working the coupon policies of big box stores like Babies R Us and Buy Buy Baby.
The holiday shopping season-- the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas-- is a whopping 32 days long this year. That's the longest possible, but just because we all have a few extra days to shop doesn't mean we can't use a little extra help. Enlist your smartphone to assist you with staying organized, finding deals and making sure Santa gets it right this year. These gift giving apps may be even better than having your own personal elf.
It's a mystery every new parent ponders: how can something so tiny cost so much? According to the US Department of Agriculture's latest figures, raising a child born in 2011 through age 17 will cost an average of $234,900. That's the cost for food, shelter and other necessities. Baby's first year will cost more than $10,000, according to BabyCenter.com. Of course the amount you spend depends on your income and how hard you work to save. I scored a new car seat for free, more than a hundred dollars in free formula and a breast pump at an 80 percent discount. Check out these secrets for saving hundreds of dollars on baby gear.
Despite the lack of visual evidence of Paul Ryan's shirtless chest, P90X is getting some special attention after Mitt Romney's running mate announced he's a fan of the workout. Not even sure what P90X is? It's a 90-day home-based workout developed by Tony Horton that combines cross-training with nutrition and dietary supplements. According to reports, the workout regimen reached $500 million in sales as of August 2012. The Ultimate P90X kit will set you back about $360, but we uncovered ways to join this workout craze for less.
You know that pair of lamps collecting dust in your attic and those old toys taking up valuable closet space? You can turn that unused stuff into cash just in time for the most expensive time of year: the holidays. Now is a great time to try consigning your unused stuff in order to generate extra cash for Christmas. Consider this our early gift to you-- the insider secrets of how consigning can lead to quick cash.
Your grandma may be a master at baking sugar cookies while your grandpa excels at complaining about politics, but there's something else they're likely great at: saving money. Grandparents Day is September 9 and in honor of our elders, we compiled some of the best advice our frugal family members have passed on over the years. They shop with necessities in mind and don't seem as likely to fall for impulse buys. They know how to stick to a budget and they look for quality in a product. This age-old wisdom will definitely benefit anyone on a budget today and explains why we all should be shopping like a grandma.
For people with time to kill and a computer, earning extra income is just a few clicks away. There are lots of programs rewarding users for online searches with perks like gift cards, products or even deposits into your PayPal account. Of course, there are some scam companies disguising themselves as great opportunities to earn extra money, but we've uncovered the programs with the best perks.
Consumers have certainly rallied around retail holidays like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Small Business Saturday. Now there's a new kid on the block: Back-to-School Saturday. Teen Vogue Magazine gathered advertisers and marketers to create the one-day event to offer shoppers sales, samples and deals at stores like Aeropostale, American Eagle and Staples. According to the New York Times, the back-to-school shopping season normally spans an 8-12 week period, peaking during the second or third week in August. So this year, organizers are hoping to gather shoppers for one big day of buying-- August 11.
How many times have you come home from Target, the grocery store or the mall only to realize you forgot to buy something important? Now instead of crossing something off your to-do list, you're simply adding another thing back on. In honor of National Simplify Your Life Week-- seven glorious days devoted to clearing clutter from life-- we're getting professional help to make shopping and errands run more smoothly.