Blog Posts by Redbook

  • 3 Ways to Avoid Getting Overcharged

    By Beth Kobliner, REDBOOK

    It happens all the time to people who don't check their receipts. Watch out for these likely culprits.

    1. Cell shock

    One in five people have spotted an unexpected charge on a cell phone bill in the last year, says Consumer Reports. And a new lawsuit claims that AT&T has up-charged some iPhone users by 300 percent. Read your statement line by line and make sure any fluctuations are accounted for.

    Related: 50 Hot Steals Under $50

    2. Checkout scams

    Investigators in California recently found that stores including Rite Aid, Whole Foods Market, and Banana Republic charged customers higher prices at the register than what was marked on the shelves, often because checkout scanners aren't updated regularly with sale prices. If a manager won't honor a shelf price, contact your state's consumer protection office at consumeraction.gov.

    Related: 20 Ways to Speed Up Your Metabolism

    3. B.S. bank fees

    Did $10 or $25 mysteriously

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  • 3 Gym-Free Workouts

    By Karen Asp, REDBOOK

    Getting a million-dollar body doesn't always require a trainer, or even fancy gear. Steal these gym-free workouts from three very-fit celebs.

    Exercise: Road Biking

    Star: Lauren Graham

    Benefits: It's great for toning your lower body--less thigh jiggle--and also strengthens your abs since you have to contract your core to balance on the bike.

    Insider Tip: Adjust the saddle so your knees are just slightly bent on the down pedal push, says Michelle Lovitt, Graham's trainer in Los Angeles.

    Related: 50 Under $50 Frugal Finds for Spring

    Exercise: Flow-style yoga

    Star: Poppy Montgomery

    Benefits: This type of yoga not only melts fat, it also improves flexibility and posture and keeps you centered, says Valerie Waters, Montgomery's fitness trainer.

    Insider Tip: Try a DVD like Yoga Transformation, Weight Loss and Balance With Deepak Chopra and Tara Stiles. Aim to do it two or three times a week.

    Related: 17 5-Minute

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  • 4 Things I Learned from My Mom (But Won't Admit It)

    By Tracey Black, REDBOOK

    new momnew mom

    As much as it would have pained me as a teenager to admit it, I've become more like my mother than I ever would have thought. I find myself saying things like "Ai-yah!," which is like the Chinese equivalent of "Oh my gosh!" (or "WTF" when the kids are not around) when annoyed by something. Like, "Ai-yah! I found another Lego on the stairs! Pick it up or someone is going to trip on it."

    Related: 17 5-Minute Marriage Makeovers

    I'm also adopting some of her quirks that I always found weird as a kid, but now I'm thinking she may have been ahead of her time, mainly on these four points.

    1. Don't buy or acquire a lot of crap. Instead, go for minimalism.

    My mother was the queen of neatness and minimalism. She always got rid of things-even before we were done using them-because they took up space. We only had a few furnishings and decorations around the house, and I didn't have a ton of toys and gadgets as a child. Sometimes I thought we were too

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  • Should the Hunger Games Be Banned from Schools?

    By Charlotte Hilton Andersen, REDBOOK

    new momThe Hunger Games, the wildly popular young adult series by Suzanne Collins, has already topped nearly every book list out there, but this week it attained a new top spot: The trilogy is ranked #3 on The American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom's list of most frequently challenged books for 2011. And with the new movie out, complaints against the series are only increasing - mostly from parents concerned about the effect of books based on the premise of children killing other children in a gladiator game/reality TV show mash-up.

    Related: 25 Snacks Under 150 Calories

    Banning books seems to be the #1 way to ensure their popularity, so this may just be a savvy marketing move. Let's be honest, though, as a parent there are some legitimate concerns about the books-and I say that as a parent who has read all the books several times and loved them.

    The first and foremost concern is the graphic violence. Since children being Read More »from Should the Hunger Games Be Banned from Schools?
  • 3 Women Who've Learned to Be Happy Living on Less Money

    By REDBOOK

    Take it from these three women, whose lives changed for the better because of bad times.

    1. Susan Dominus, 41, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY

    Anytime I've ever tried to sell something on Craigslist, I have felt like a chump: No matter how low I've priced the item, the buyer always springs a last-minute haggle on me upon arrival. One of us ends up feeling like a winner, the other (that would be me) a loser.

    Related: 4 Foods to Eat for a Healthy Smile

    The antidote to Craigslist is Freecycle, a Yahoo message board where people post things they want to give away for free. Interested parties respond, and the original poster picks a recipient. I started using the site not long after the recession hit, when I was looking for children's clothing for my twin 2-year-old boys. After spotting a listing for a navy pea coat, size 3T, I packed up the kids and drove to an address in a run-down neighborhood several towns away. There, on the porch, I found a perfect-condition coat

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  • 3 Things to Insure, and 2 Not To

    By Beth Kobliner, REDBOOK

    Health insurance? No duh. But do you really need to spring for coverage on six weeks at "Camp Wigwam"?

    Related: 20 Ways to Speed Up Your Metabolism

    BUY:

    1. Renters insurance. It's a steal at roughly $25 a month, compared with the average $40,000 it would cost to replace everything if your home burned down. Visit netquote.com for rates.

    2. Pet insurance. Dog owners spend a whopping average of $655 a year on vet visits. If your pet is healthy, you can find quality plans for as low as $10 a month. Start your research at embracepetinsurance.com.

    Related: 50 Under $50 Frugal Finds for Spring

    3. Travel insurance, when you're spending big. If the whole fam is headed on a European tour, insure the cost of your flights, hotels, and any nonrefundable activities. It'll cost 4 to 8 percent of the trip's total price and will be a lifesaver if you have to cancel. Check out insuremytrip.com.

    SKIP:

    1. Camp or college tuition insurance.

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  • It Happened to Me: Easter Egg Hunt Cancelled After Parents Brawled

    eastereasterBy Charlotte Hilton Andersen, REDBOOK

    Colored eggs. Happy kids. Delicious treats. Brawling parents. It doesn't sound like your Norman Rockwell version of Easter and yet in Macon, Georgia this is exactly what people got last year at the annual city Easter egg hunt thereby causing organizers to cancel this year's festivities. I'd say I was surprised except that Macon is one in a long line of cities reporting problems with parents at egg hunts in recent years. I've even seen it myself in action.

    Related: Gratuitous Pictures of Messy Babies

    A few years ago when my oldest son was 2 and my second son was a newborn I took the kids to my local Easter egg hunt. Toddlers and parents lined up at the starting line around a field filled with candy-filled eggs, waiting for the whistle to blow. Two-year olds don't move very quickly, especially shy ones that are tethered to a mom hauling an infant and so by the time we made it on to the field almost all the eggs were gone. My son

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  • Moms Share: The Nicest Things People Did for Me After My Baby's Birth

    By Charlotte Hilton Andersen, REDBOOK

    new momnew momVacuuming the stairs.

    That's the sort of thing you don't normally think about doing for someone, and yet right after my third child was born, I found myself weeping with gratitude when a good friend came over and did exactly that. As new moms, we hear "Let me know if you need anything" often from friends and family, but while it's well-intended, most moms won't call. Meals are always welcome, but here are other ideas from new moms about the nicest things people did for them after their babies were born:

    Related: 4 Foods to Eat for a Healthy Smile

    1. "My mom spent a few nights here and took care of Ella at night so that I could sleep." -Kristen

    2. "A friend who lives in another city had several frozen pizzas delivered. We just had to pop them in the oven for a tasty meal." -Thea

    3. "One day while I was at the pediatrician, my friend went to my home and cleaned the ENTIRE house while we were gone, without me knowing. We came home to a clean Read More »from Moms Share: The Nicest Things People Did for Me After My Baby's Birth
  • 7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying Anything

    By Beth Kobliner, REDBOOK

    Every little penny helps when you're trying to save money. Financial guru Beth Kobliner shares these important questions to ask yourself before making any purchase. Stick to this advice and your bank account will thank you.

    Related: 50 Under $50 Frugal Finds for Spring

    1. Do you have to buy this item?
    Could you borrow this item from a friend or swap for it? If swapping's an option, check out websites such as paperbackswap.com for books, swapbabygoods.com for tots' toys, or swapmamas.com for household items and kitchen supplies.

    2. Have you found the best deal?
    Before you make a big-ticket purchase, compare prices at three similar stores. And if you're shopping online, don't hit the checkout button until you've looked for a discount code or coupon. Websites such as fatwallet.com, dealio.com and retailmenot.com can help you find offers from hundreds of retailers such as Old Navy and the Container Store. Check out restaurant.com

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  • How to Handle a Bad Job Reference

    By Barbara Corcoran, REDBOOK

    Q: I'm a teacher, and I didn't really get along with my principal at my last job. Would it look odd if I didn't list her as a reference? - L.B., via email

    Related: 50 Under $50 Frugal Finds for Spring

    A: First, realize that interpersonal conflicts are nothing new. You're hardly the first person not to get along with your boss! The absence of one boss's name in your list of references doesn't matter as long as there are at least two people who will review you favorably. What's far more important is where you worked, what your position was, and for how long. So don't include your principal at all; just put your department head instead. Also, list the department heads or principals from your past teaching positions. If you don't have enough on-the-job references, you could include volunteer-work contacts or even a professional mentor. And be sure to call your references ahead of time for their permission - as well as to ask whether they

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