Blog Posts by Farnoosh Torabi, Yahoo! Finance

  • Signs You're a Shopaholic

    Kristen Becker owns enough clothes and shoes to outfit an entire village. She shops constantly online and visits the mall at least once or twice a week. She owns more than a dozen pairs of Ugg boots, and hundreds of shirts, pants and dresses.

    Does this sound familiar to you?

    If so, you may be a shopaholic. There are more than 25 million Americans classified as compulsive shoppers. How do you know if your large appetite for spending makes you a shopping addict?

    We tapped Dr. April Benson, author of "To Buy or Not to Buy: Why We Overshop and How to Stop" to walk us through the four telltale signs and how to control the urge to splurge.

    Also See: Best Cell Phones for Kids

    "Compulsive buying is called the 'smiled-upon addiction' because consumption fuels our economy," says Benson. "People who are compulsive buyers are often struggling with low self esteem, emptiness, loneliness. Compulsive buying is their go-to activity to tolerate distress and regulate their emotion."

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  • Best Cell Phones for Kids

    It's only a matter of time when your young child starts begging for a cellphone. While there's no absolute rule as to when a cell phone begins to be age-appropriate, a Pew Research study found that most parents buy their child a phone for the first time around 12 or 13 years old. In fact, 58% of 12-year-olds carry a cellphone today, up from just 18% in 2004.

    If you feel the time is right, here are some responsible and affordable options for kids, tweens and teens.

    Also See: Beauty Money Wasters

    Kids age 6-11

    For grade school children, no need for a smart phone. But for basic communication with family or emergencies consider a Pay As You Go plan.

    "There's a dollar or two access fee per day and its 25 cents a minute," Michael Gilkas, senior electronics editor at Consumer Reports.

    Also See: Fitness Fads that Are a Waste of Money

    "This is for the grade school kid who isn't using their phone socially yet, but makes a couple calls to Mom once or twice a week. On a

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  • Top Financial Advice for Women

    Women are making incredible strides. For the first time in history, we are more educated than men and hold a majority of the advanced degrees. We represent 50% of the workforce, up from 35% a generation ago. And, we make most of the household decisions, everything from buying items for the home to managing household finances.

    Also See: Beauty Money Wasters

    But of course, as women, we still face unique challenges that need specific attention and advice. Here are my top money tips every woman ought to know.

    Contribute More to Retirement

    First, sorry to say, we need to save more for retirement than men when you consider we live an average five years longer. If you haven't already, it's best to automatically set aside close to 15% of each paycheck in a 401(k) or other retirement plan, a bit more than the generally recommended 10%.

    Also See: Fitness Fads that Are a Waste of Money

    Prepare For Higher Expenses

    As we recently covered, it costs more to be a woman.

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  • Beauty Money Wasters

    What's in your makeup bag? Probably more than you need. The billion-dollar cosmetic industry is known to preach the value of fancy foundation, eye cream, wrinkle cream - you name it. And more often than not, we buy into it.

    To help with the makeup madness, we tapped Desiree Stordahl, co-author of the book "Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me," and a beauty editor for CosmeticsCop.com.

    Stordahl has a list of products that are called "must haves" but are, in fact, money wasters.

    Also See: Money Discussion Every Couple Should Have

    Under Eye Cream

    At the top of the list are eye creams. "There's nothing in the research showing your eye needs anything different than the rest of your face," says Stordahl. "The thing with eye creams is that they give you half the amount of product, charge you twice the price and there's nothing better about them. In fact, sometimes they're worse," she says.

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    Instead of eye

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  • One Dress, 5 Ways

    Spring is about to be sprung. That means fashion shows, outdoor parties and, of course, the upcoming wedding season, encouraging us to stretch our wardrobe dollars to the max. But what if I told you that you could wear one single dress five different ways? Stylist and fashion maven Amy Salinger explains how to take full advantage of the versatility of one single dress.

    Also See: Beauty Money Wasters

    Start with the "LBD"

    Salinger suggests starting with a black sheath dress, also known as the "little black dress." "It's one of those pieces that is universally flattering," she says. "The great thing about it is that you can get a quality little black dress for under $100 dollars, sometimes under $50…Find a great one that you can wear multiple ways."

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    Look #1: Casual Weekend

    You might not expect a little black dress to transform for a casual weekend look but it is possible. Add a cross-body messenger bag, layer with a

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  • Cheapest, Guilt-Free Foods

    Locally-grown… Farm Fresh… Artisanal…. You hear these retail food "buzz" words all the time but with their hefty price tags, you have to wonder if it's all just hype.

    While some upscale foods are more environmentally friendly, experts like Dr. Oz, as well, as Cooking Light's contributing editor Allison Fishman, say they don't necessarily provide more nutritional benefit.

    "Supermarkets sometimes get a bad rap because people feel guilty when they're buying a frozen vegetable or a canned vegetable instead of the beautiful fresh vegetables," says Fishman. "But research shows that there are just as many healthy choices at the grocery store as there are at the farmer's market."

    Bottom line: healthy-eating doesn't have to mean expensive eating. Here are five foods that you can buy cheaply - guilt free.

    Frozen Vegetables

    We talk a lot about the value in buying frozen veggies on this show, and there's a reason for that-they're a great buy, especially in the winter when the

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  • Tips for a Cheaper Date Night

    The cost of a typical date night can sometimes be enough to totally kill the romance. When you add up dinner, a movie and babysitter, the average date can easily top over a hundred dollars. So whether you're just playing the field, dating or married, here are several ways to enjoy a lovely evening out without breaking the bank.

    Hit the Happy Hour Circuit

    Begin by taking advantage of happy hour, saving 30% or more on food and drinks. For added excitement, hop on a tour of several different happy hour spots known for their extra-generous specials like $1 oysters, $1 wings or $2 drafts. The free mobile app Happy Hours shows food and drink specials in over 100 cities.

    Also See: Money Discussion Every Couple Should Have

    BYOB Wine

    If you choose to dine with wine, here's some guidance: avoid ordering by the glass. It's not uncommon for restaurants typically charge the full retail price of the bottle for a single serving of wine. Instead, seek out restaurants that have yet

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  • Why it Costs More to Be a Woman

    It's expensive to be a woman in this country. Collectively, we fork over $426 billion a year on our hair, nails, and beauty products. But glamour aside, for services that we all need - like insurance, housing and healthcare, - women are still paying more than men.

    I tapped Lea Goldman, Features and Special Projects Director at Marie Claire Magazine, whose article, "Why Women Pay More" exposes the harsh realities of price discrimination.

    "The state of California found, on average, that women were paying a markup of about $1,351 that men weren't having to pay for the same goods and services," she says. "We looked at women cross the country...and found that on average women pay $151 billion in extra fees and markups that men don't have to pay."

    Some of those items that are more expensive for women include everyday toiletries, such as disposable razors, shaving creams, shampoos and soaps - all dressed in prettier packaging, but functionally identical to those sold to men.

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  • Money Discussion Every Couple Should Have

    When it comes to money and relationships, there's good news and bad news. While a majority of couples say they discuss their finances on a weekly basis, money is still a top cause for arguments. In other words, a simple money talk can quickly turn south.

    "There are really a lot of emotions behind financial decisions," says marriage and family counselor Rachel Sussman. "When couples start to talk about it, the arguments become more about the style and not the substance. It's important to talk about finances but it's how couples do it that brings the problems into it."

    Also See: Fitness Fads that Are a Waste of Money

    But that's no excuse to stop talking. I tapped Sussman for advice on the most important money conversations to have, all while keeping your cool.

    What Are Our Goals?

    First, she says recognize you may be with your financial opposite. Studies show savers are attracted to spenders and vice versa. Rather than have that as a source of conflict, she says find

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  • Company Benefits You Wish You Had

    Good News for 9-to-5 workers: a survey by job search giant GlassDoor.com found that corporate perks are on the rise.

    "Sixty-five percent of the employees we polled in our survey just about a month ago reported that their employers are rolling out new perks and benefits, which is a huge number," says Allyson Willoughby of Glassdoor.com. "It's a 14% increase over last year."

    Also See: Best Financial Advice of 2012

    The best perks come from companies you might not expect. In fact, some of the most innovative, and indulgent, benefits come from lesser-known brands, start-ups and forward-thinking employers demonstrating lots of goodwill toward their workers. Jealous? Here are some company benefits you wish you had.

    At Red Frog Events, a $45-million Chicago company, anyone can take unlimited vacation at any time - as long as you're getting your work done, of course. Surprisingly, the company reports increased productivity, lower administrative costs and improved talent

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