Blog Posts by Farnoosh Torabi, Yahoo! Finance

  • 10 Ways to Save at the Dentist

    Dreading a trip to the dentist? While it's not the most exciting place to visit, our number one reason for skipping dental care, is actually cost - whether you're insured or not - according to the American Dental Association. For example, average out-of-pocket expenses for a simple filling, according to the Consumer Reports National Research Center, is $141 dollars for those with insurance and double for those without.

    Here are ten ways you can lower your dental costs, saving hundred of dollars a year on procedures.


    Many freelancers and small business owners have scored free dental care by offering a service or product of equal or greater value to their dentist. For example, at the annual O+ Festival in Kingston, New York, artists and medical professionals exchange the art of medicine for the medicine of art.

    Patients shouldn't be shy about asking a dentist to barter. In addition to artwork, you may be able to convince your dentist to swap services for

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  • When to Run Your Dishwasher

    One of your home's biggest money drains can be found in your dishwasher, which accounts for a huge chunk of your home's energy usage. But, if used properly and maintained, your dishwasher can actually save you money.

    Consider these tips:

    Time It Right
    The time of day you use your dishwasher matters. Many utility companies charge higher rates during peak hours, with the heaviest usage at around 2 P.M. Save money by running it over night, between the hours of 7 P.M. and noon the next day. Some units can even be set to start at the time of your choosing.

    Pick a Lighter Cycle
    Next, choose your cycles carefully. The heavier the cycle the more water and energy you'll use, typically filling and draining your dishwasher four to five times. A normal or light wash usually fills three. "Unless things are a total mess and your dishes are really caked with food a normal or a light cycle is probably going to do the trick, especially if you have a newer machine," says Jacob Gordon

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  • America's Biggest Shopping Regrets

    Be honest. Ever bought anything on impulse? Chances are you have, and as a new survey finds -- often regrettably. Our Financially Fit team recently teamed up with the National Endowment for Financial Education to ask over 2,000 Americans what's your biggest shopping regret.

    The survey finds an astonishing two-thirds of adults bought something on impulse in the last month, and 71% regretted an impulse purchase in the last year. The biggest shopping regret? Clothing and shoes. Not surprisingly, women are significantly more likely than men to splurge on a pair of heels.

    The next regret is spending money on dining out. Toys and tech products tied for third with men twice as likely to splurge on gadgets.

    Also See: Top 5 Computers for Under $600

    All these regrets are costly. Those who felt remorse over an impulse purchase wasted an average of $730 a year on unwanted merchandise. Men actually spent about $350 more per year than women.

    Also See: Sales You Should Ignore

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  • Common Tipping Mistakes

    There's perhaps no aspect of etiquette more confusing than tipping. It's a gesture that shows our appreciation for great service and some workers depend on tips. But in some instances, tipping is completely unnecessary. To avoid some common mistakes, here are a few tipping do's and don'ts.

    Tip Jar Etiquette
    Tip jars are everywhere these days, but that doesn't mean you're obligated to give up your change. Save gratuities for people who go above and beyond. Senior Editor at Real Simple magazine, Mary Kate McGrath, says it's appropriate if you received extra service. If you get a free refill, for example, she says definitely tip but not for the standard service of someone just doing their job.

    Also See: Money Mistakes that Could Ruin Your Finances

    Don't Discount Tip
    When dining out we know that the standard tip is about 15% to 20% but if you use a gift card or a daily deal voucher, remember not to discount tip. Leave gratuity on the full amount that you ordered, not the

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  • 5 Secrets to Outlet Shopping

    Special thanks to Escada and Le Crueset for making this video possible.

    Outlet malls create an adrenaline rush. You've got all your favorite stores in one place at big discounts. But don't be fooled! This $25 billion-a-year industry is masterful at getting you to part with your money. Here are five secrets to outlet shopping, all to help you be a smarter shopper once you get there.

    Some Retailers Create Merchandise Exclusively for Outlets

    First, factory outlet stores started as a way for brands to sell irregular items or products left over from retail stores. Today, many companies create clothing lines specifically for outlet customers at cheaper price points. Brands such as Gap, Coach, Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren and J. Crew design clothing exclusively for the outlets and of a different quality.

    Also See: Sales You Should Ignore

    Items sold in outlets are still of decent quality except for a few minor details, says Tod Marks, senior projects editor for Consumer Reports.

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  • Sales You Should Ignore

    Scoring a deal can be exhilarating, but not all bargains are created equal. Just because an item's on sale, doesn't mean you're getting the biggest bang for your buck, and some sales you may actually want to ignore.

    For example, if that blouse you have your eye on is only discounted 15%, you may want to hold off since it's actually a below-average deal. Yes, waiting may mean missing out on your size and preferred color, but get this: researchers at ShopItToMe an online fashion sale aggregator, say markdowns on clothing average 42% year-round. During the month of October, the average sale price is 45%.

    Also See: Turn Your Shopping Addiction into Cash

    If you're willing to be patient, your best bet is to wait until after the New Year to stock up on new clothes. ShopItToMe found that January is one of the best months for clothing sales. In fact, January 15th and 16th are among the top 20 days for online clothing discounts the entire year.

    Also See:Designer Trends at Knock-Off

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  • Dress to Impress on a Budget

    Sometimes you want to make the best impression, whether you're interviewing for a job, going on a first date or simply wanting your wardrobe to make a statement. For those of us on a budget, here are some ideas from Taylor Jacobson, celebrity stylist on Oxygen's upcoming winter series Hollywood Unzipped. She's got great tips on to how to look like you're worth a million bucks -- even when you're not.

     Stick to One Trend

    One of the biggest mistakes people make when they're trying to dress to impress is piling on a ton of trendy items: prints, colors and multiple accessories. "Avoid collages," says Jacobson. "Stick to one trend... choose one and go with it," she says. Mixing basic items with something more cutting-edge will add the right kind of emphasis.

     Also See: What NOT to Wear to Work

    Silky Tops

    Clean, simple and chic silky blouses are easy to wear to the office and out with friends. Accessorize it by adding a stylish hat or pop of color with your shoes, says Jacobson. It's an

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  • Outsmart Your Fellow Traveler

    Traveling is hard enough with all the logistics, headaches and lately, rising fees, but you can outsmart your fellow traveler on planes, trains and automobiles - even hotels - with these insider travel tips.


    #1 Check Flight's Occupancy
    The trick to knowing if it's time to buy now or wait for a fare sale is to check the flight's occupancy. If there are only a few seats left, book fast. Prices will likely rise from here on out.

    Also See: 6 Tricks to Slash Your Cell Phone Bill by $1,000 a Year

    #2 Opt For Flat-Fee Upgrades
    Flat-fee upgrades are becoming more common and the cheapest way to fly upper cabin, despite the fact that airlines do not advertise these deals. Its not quite first class but often means more legroom, more earned miles and early boarding. Prices depend on the number of seats free and range from $50 to $250 for domestic flights and up to $500 for oversees crossings.

    #3 Get Bumped on Fridays
    Everyone knows that volunteering your seat on

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  • Get the Job: Clean Your Online Profile

    Anyone who's typed their name into a search engine knows that personal information can pretty much pop up anywhere, in more than a dozen search categories. But did you know that if this info is inaccurate, or simply unflattering, it could compromise your ability to land a job? That's right. According to a survey by human resources firm Manpower, approximately 70% of hiring managers use social networking sites in the job-hunting process - a fact that is not lost on recent college grad Victoria Cotter.

    Also See: Money Mistakes that Could Ruin Your Finances

    "I'm very conscious of my social media presence because it's like your first impression," says Cotter. "People can 'meet' you prior to meeting you via social media. I've had a coworker actually get reprimanded because of his Facebook profile picture. "

    Even if you don't have embarrassing photos or juvenile jokes on Facebook, your online presence can still set off alarm bells for recruiters. So here's how to scrub your

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  • Money Mistakes that Could Ruin Your Finances

    On any given day, we face a myriad of financial decisions: What to buy, how much to spend, where to save. And when life gets busy, it's easy to make mistakes - some small, others big. Here are five major mistakes that can really take a toll on your finance and some advice.

    1. Lacking Long-Term Disability Insurance

    First, if you think health insurance is all you need to help you in case of an accident or medical setback, think again. Do you have long-term disability insurance, which can help to replace usually 60% of your income while you're unable to work? If you're single or the breadwinner in your household, this is vital. Yet, according to a new survey by the Consumer Federation of America, two-thirds of private sector workers overlook this, even though most employees say missing a paycheck for three or more months from sickness or injury would be financially devastating. Depending on your policy, long-term disability insurance can cover claims stemming from breaking your

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