Blog Posts by Farnoosh Torabi, Yahoo! Finance

  • Why Clutter Costs You

    Just how many hundreds of unnecessary emails do you have sitting in your inbox? What about that pile of mail you stash away and forget to review until who knows when?

    It happens to the best of us because, well, we're desensitized to the 41 pounds of junk mail and over 2,000 nonsense e-mails we get each year. It's an overwhelming amount of clutter that, in the end, impacts our productivity, organization and our money.

    Also See: Best Financial Advice of 2012

    Want to know much time digital junk like spam, texts and even Facebook ads waste? On the low end, corporations figure 4-5 seconds each. Based on that math, this easily leads to a couple of hours wasted every year, but for some of us it could be far worse. Think about it. How much time do you spend searching for buried email?

    And with paper, it's the same. One study found that 47% of workers reported lost time, 16% said they've been tardy to meetings, and 14% have missed deadlines over simple desk disorganization.

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  • We Save $5k by Being Green

    It's not a typical sight for an urban backyard, but pet chickens are just one eco-friendly way the Tetreault family is saving money - to the tune of $5,000 a year.

    "We wanted to really know where our eggs came from and to buy organic eggs in the grocery store is a lot of money," says Sara Tetreault, mother and blogger at GoGingham.com. "We probably now have broken even on having hens in our backyard, but there's nothing better than going out to the chicken coop and getting a fresh, warm egg." She says the family likes to call them their "pets with benefits."

    Also See: Fitness Fads that Are a Waste of Money

    In addition to raising hens, mom Sara doesn't machine dry their clothes, the family generates only one barrel of trash per month, and they bicycle as often as they can -- all eco-friendly measures that provide more breathing room in the family's budget. "I love saving money. And it just so happens that what's good for my wallet equals good for the environment," Sara

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  • Fitness Fads that Are a Waste of Money

    Remember the Thighmaster, sauna suits, 8 Minute Abs? Some fitness fads, despite their promises, end up being total flops. And it's all a costly obsession. We spend nearly $30 billion a year on weight loss programs, alone. And now, with so many new trends emerging in the health space, we've got a breakdown of some plans that are worth it - and others you may want to skip.

    For starters, short, high-intensity workouts are sweeping the nation. P90X, Insanity and - most popular- CrossFit, use functional movements that mimic motions you do in real life, encouraging tough, full body workouts. But are they worth the price?

    Also See: Best Financial Advice of 2012

    For example, CrossFit, which uses Olympic-style lifting, kettle balls and plyometrics in a specialized gym, can cost roughly $200 per month. That's worth it for some but experts say it's not for everyone.

    "The great thing about CrossFit is that you can see really amazing results. You're building lean muscle mass. In a

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  • Unwanted Gifts: Sell, Swap or Return?

    We've all received gifts we don't really need or want, and so as you review your holiday duds this season - and you know you've probably gotten at least one - here are some tips to help you easily navigate returns, as well as some other strategies to deal with unwanted gifts.

    Returns Made Simple

    According to a recent Consumer Reports poll, one in five adults will spend at least two hours dealing with returns this year. To lessen the hassle, keep in mind that returns are easiest when you've got a receipt. Without it, you could get rejected or, due to post-holiday sales, just get store credit for the now discounted value of the item. There are some exceptions: Nordstrom and Bloomingdales, for example, "sticker" their merchandise at the time of purchase with a special tag that proves the date and original purchase price, which they well honor when you return the item. Also make sure to bring your government-issued ID, as some companies require it along with a receipt to track

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  • Best Financial Advice of 2012

    So far this year we've shared financial advice on everything from minimizing laundry to wasting less food, saving big at the outlet mall and the pump, and even traveling on a budget. And as 2012 draws to a close, we present a holiday gift to you, our Financially Fit audience. It's a roundup of our favorite savings tips from our collection of experts, editors and gurus- all meant to help you stick to your financial resolutions.

    Bottle Your Own Water

    The number one tip from one of our cooking experts involves making small changes to our dining habits for a savings of more than $3,000 a year. "Everybody just goes out and grabs bottled water," said Lisa Gosselin of EatingWell magazine. Bottled water starts $1.55 for a bottle, when in fact if bring your own water bottle, put it in a water bottle and it's free. Over the year that would come out to be $375 on minimum if you bought it every day during the week."

    Also See: Buy This, Not That: Workout Gear

    Pack Lunch

    "Let's talk

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  • Buy This, Not That: Workout Gear

    Even if you've traded in your gym membership for free workouts in the park or at home, it's easy to go overboard on workout gear. It's a multibillion-dollar industry that includes everything from yoga mats to medicine balls.

    So for some savings strategies, I tapped Fitness magazine's Argy Koutsothanasis. She breaks down what's worth it and what's not in this FinFit edition of Buy This, Not That: Workout Gear.

    Also See: How to Find the Perfect Bra

    Buy Compact Cardio

    Equipment like treadmills and stair climbers are not only bulky, but also expensive. "Consumer Reports found that about 40% of people who purchase treadmills use them initially then stop - if they use them at all," says Koutsothanasis, adding yet another reason to avoid buying them. As an alternative to a $1,000 treadmill, you can piece together a comparable workout with the Gaiam Mini Stepper. At just $79, it is a fraction of what a larger machine costs and lets you workout your legs and even arms. "It's

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  • How to Find the Perfect Bra

    It's typically the first and most important garment we put on, but rarely a thoughtful purchase. In fact, one in three women never try on a bra before buying it. Big mistake! I tapped Kimberly Caldwell of Linda's Bra Salon in Manhattan to find out how to buy and care for this wardrobe basic.

    Prioritize Your Bras

    The right bra can make you look slimmer and even give your outfit a more expensive, more polished look. Caldwell says ignoring your bust line, while focusing only on your clothes is a no-no. "If you're wearing the right bra, your outfit can look a thousand times better," she says. "But if you're wearing the wrong bra, it can look terrible. I've been fitting bras for eight years and have seen everything…A woman will come in with a $500 dress on and a terrible bra," she says. A bra doesn't just need to look good. More importantly it has to lift and give you a great shape.

    Also See: When You Should Repair Instead of Replace

    Start Small

    You don't have to invest

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  • Kitchen Gadgets You Should Never Buy

    Even the pros agree that most kitchens don't need more than a sharp knife and some versatile pots and pans, but, most American kitchens have way more - too much in fact. All these highly specialized appliances are collecting dust and taking up a lot more space than they should.

    To help you clear the clutter, Allison Fishman, host of Yahoo!'s Blue Ribbon Hunter and contributing editor at Cooking Light, shares which appliances are worth the money and which you can absolutely skip.

    Popcorn Maker

    We all probably have a lot of gadgets in our kitchens that are redundant, that actually do exactly the same things that our ovens, microwaves and stoves do. There's perhaps none more redundant than the popcorn maker. Many of us get them as gifts and like them for their charm but use your microwave or stove to make popcorn, says Fishman. The microwave option is a favorite because its popcorn setting is pretty much perfect in terms of timing. A good pan on the stove is a fine

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  • How to Not Break Up Over Money

    Whether you're married or just dating, money is a divisive issue in any relationship. It's a top cause of arguments, more than kids, chores, even the in-laws. In fact, research shows that couples that argue over finances at least once a week are 30% more likely to call it quits. So here's some important information to help you avoid a breakup over money.

    Also See: 6 Gifts Your Guy Will Hate

    Show All Your Cards
    "The foundation of any relationship is honesty and that goes for money too," says Self Magazine's Laura Brounstein. "You want to be really honest with each other in how you think about finances. You don't want to find financial skeletons in his closet or, if you have financial skeleton in your closet, you don't want them jumping out when you least expect it." Brounstein says it's best to be as honest as possible as soon as possible. "Not being honest cannot only put your relationship at risk but put your financial wellbeing at risk."

    Before getting serious,

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  • 6 Gifts Your Guy Will Hate

    Picking out the right holiday gifts for loved ones is challenging enough, but when it comes to the man in your life, finding that "special something" can be especially tricky. Here's a list of gifts that your man will, most likely, hate.

    Related: Best budget gifts for the men in your life

    Digital Photo Frames

    This once-trendy tech gift flew off the shelves in years past but digital photographs ended up being a huge waste of money when consumers found them to be clunky and overrated. However, technology in general is still a crowd pleaser for geeks and guys alike.

    Also See: America's Biggest Shopping Regrets

    "This year's hottest tech gifts are gadgets that make life a little bit easier," says Hallie Gould, editor at RealBeauty.com. "One that really I love is the Belkin @TV Plus. You just hook it up to your TV so you can watch live or recorded television anywhere you go.

    Generic Ties

    Ties are often considered sophisticated fashion statements, but if you think

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