Blog Posts by Farnoosh Torabi, Yahoo! Finance

  • Common Money Traps to Avoid

    Ever feel bamboozled into paying more than you should? Hidden fees and clever marketing can sneak up on you, especially when you seek convenience or shop in a hurry. When money's at stake, here's where and how to avoid getting trapped:

    Online Fees

    While it's convenient to book events and pay some bills online, keep an eye out for miscellaneous fees. For example, according to SeatGeek.com, ticket service charges can cost you anywhere from $2 to $50 more per ticket. "Ticket sale agents will sell you the ticket to the production or to the concert but they don't make any money on the concert itself," says Janet Bodnar, Editor of Kiplinger's Personal Finance. "They make the money on selling tickets to you." How to skirt these fees? There's always just going to the box office and buying tickets directly from the venue. Or, if you do use a ticket agent, pick up the ticket at Will Call instead of having it mailed to you overnight. "Ticketmaster also has its own little kiosks in

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  • When to Replace Your Razors

    A proper shave can be pricey. Razors are simple tools but if you're not careful can carry sharp costs that impact both your finances and your health. "A proper shave is vital for both men and women to prevent razor burn, nicks, cuts, and ingrown hairs," says Genevieve Bochanty, consultant with The Art of Shaving.  "And, worst of all, you can get something called folliculitis, which is bacteria that can build up in your razor and transfer to your skin causing pimples and irritation."

    Over the course of a year, it's easy to spend hundreds of dollars on disposables and replacement blades, but how much is too much? Well, according to the experts at The Art of Shaving, you should change your blade every three to five shaves, or up to seven shaves if you have light hair. If you have coarse hair, make that every two to three shaves. Another way to know when it's time to change a blade is when you get nicked, or have to go over the same portion of skin more than once.

    See Also: 5 Messy Read More »from When to Replace Your Razors
  • Designer Trends at Knock-Off Prices

    Who wants to pay a week's salary for a pair of designer pumps? After all, fashion doesn't have to cost a fortune, especially when high-end styles can be found at bargain-basement prices. Only you and your wallet will notice the difference between the runway "real deal" and its knock-off.

    We tapped personal stylist Amy Salinger and founder of SassNStyle.com for the faux fashion skinny on some of the best designer and brand-name label knock-offs trending this season.

    Fedora Hats

    $175 versus $11

    This classic hat has been around for more than a century, but it's been trending quite a bit lately, since it looks pretty cool on just about anyone, Salinger says.

    At the high-end you can spend upwards of $200 on Fedora hats. For example, Rag & Bone is selling them for $175. But if you don't want to spend big bucks on what is, after all, a simple straw hat, you can find its near-identical twin at discount stores like Forever 21 for as little as $11.

    Stores like Forever

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  • Guilt-Free Homemade Snacks

    We spend nearly $8 billion a year on snack food in the U.S., but trends are improving. Seventy-eight percent of us are snacking at home now, and about 40% of consumers are looking for snacks that provide health benefits, according to the Institute for Food Technologies.

    We teamed up with Jessie Price at EatingWell Magazine to learn how to indulge our taste for snacks and save money at the same time by supplementing some of our favorite store-bought snacks with homemade versions.

    Also See: 5 Dinners, 1 Bag of Groceries

    Check out these four easy and delicious recipes:

    Lemon-Parm Popcorn

    - 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
    - 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
    - Pinch of salt
    - 3 cups air-popped popcorn
    - 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese

    Whisk oil, lemon pepper and salt in a small bowl. Drizzle over the popcorn, toss to coat, and finally, sprinkle Parmesan cheese over your popcorn and serve immediately.

    Active time: 5 minutes
    Makes: Two 1 1/2 cup

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  • When it Pays to Spend More

    Sometimes shelling out a little extra money upfront saves you a hard-earned cash down the road, and splurging becomes an investment that pays for itself. Here are just a few examples of when it pays to spend more:

    Resealable Food Packages
    When food doesn't get sealed properly, it spoils and goes to waste, so look for packages with resealable tubes, bags or containers. They may cost you a bit more at the grocery store, but can save you hundreds of dollars a year in uneaten food. Or, if you're a bulk buyer, consider investing in a vacuum sealer or even some good quality vacuum bags. "It's a really good way of taking advantage of sales at the grocery store, especially on really pricey items like meats and cheeses. You can buy in bulk and then they're ready when you want them," says Jody Rholena of ShopSmart Magazine.

    Class Packages
    Stop the "pay as you go" insanity at your local yoga studio, spin or aerobics class. If you've taken three or more sessions in a row, ask yourself Read More »from When it Pays to Spend More
  • How Often Do You Really Need to Wash Your Jeans?

    Some good news for those of us who detest doing laundry: we might be able to get away with doing less. While it's important to keep our clothes in good condition so they'll last us longer, experts say constant laundering may not always be the most cost-effective way.

    From jeans to jeggings to skirts and bras, we tapped Mary Kate McGrath, senior editor at Real Simple to share some wisdom on when to wash it:

    Denim

    Good durable denim is excellent at masking dirt, so you can wear it several times before tossing it in the hamper. In fact, McGrath says, over-washing can cause jeans to fade and fray so when you do wash them, turn them inside out, use cold water, and line dry. They'll be a bit stiff at first, but for the mileage you'll get, it's worth it.

    One exception is jeggings, or jean leggings. These contain spandex, so wash after every wear to prevent the knees from getting baggy. Then, lay flat to dry.

    Dress Pants & Khakis

    Because you're likely to wear dress

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  • The Best Bulk Bargains

    Is buying in bulk always a better deal? For some things, the answer is yes. Our Financially Fit team conducted an informal price check of items at a New Jersey Sam's Club and elsewhere to see which products - coupons and special sales aside - are generally best bought at warehouse clubs. We zoned in on mostly non-perishable pantry items - no produce, shampoo, baked goods or electronics - just the everyday food items that wouldn't necessarily go to waste.

    Before we get into our findings, here's some practical advice for when buying in bulk:

    Consider Cost Per Unit. It's important to do the math. If you're getting a 5lb bag of popcorn for $10, calculate the cost per pound and check how that compares to the per unit cost elsewhere. Often stores indicate a product's CPU on shelves.

    Consider Consumption. While the math is important, you also need to be realistic and consider your use or consumption. It's easy to get excited over a 100-count crate of strawberries or a tub of

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  • New Wedding Registries You'll Love

    It's a wedding tradition that's been around since the 1800's, registering for items at your favorite stores so friends and family can give you the gifts you want and need. But with more engaged couples living together and combining housewares before tying the knot, the desire for a fancy blender or new China is on the decline. Not to mention, in this economy, newlyweds could really use cash more than anything else.

    Enter: alternative-wedding registries. From your honeymoon, to a mortgage to modern art, new websites are allowing brides and grooms to register outside the box.

    Honeymoon Funds
    My fiancé and I have actually started an account at HoneyFund.com for wedding guests who would like to offer a gift towards our European honeymoon. Similar sites include Honeymoonwishes.com and TravelersJoy.com. They're free and simple to set up. Couples can itemize their honeymoon wish list - from flights to a beachfront massage to a sunset cruise - so guests can help pay for

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  • Make 5 Dinner Recipes from One Bag of Groceries

    Think you can make five whole meals from just one, $50 bag of groceries?

    I recently accepted Eating Well's "5 Dinners, 1 Bag" challenge. Their test kitchen team provided me with a grocery list and I hit the local D'Agostino's supermarket in New York to collect my ingredients, which included:

    one bunch each of asparagus, chives, scallions and cilantro
    one lemon
    8 ounces snap peas
    1 pound of sea scallops
    1 pound of lean ground beef
    12 ounces of pork chops or tenderloin
    1 15-oz can of crushed tomatoes
    1 14-oz can reduced-sodium beef broth
    1 16-oz package whole-wheat spaghetti
    1 14-oz box instant or quick-cooking brown rice
    1 15-oz can kidney beans
    1 16-oz box of whole wheat spaghetti
    1 10-oz package frozen chopped spinach
    1 8-oz block extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
    1 4-oz block fontina cheese
    1 dozen eggs
    1 lb ball whole-wheat pizza dough or 1 ready-made pizza crust

    After ringing up my items, I quickly headed over to meet Jessie Price Read More »from Make 5 Dinner Recipes from One Bag of Groceries
  • Stretch Your Beauty Dollar: 4 Ways to Save

    While the beauty industry would like us to believe that the more we spend, the more beautiful we can look, we don't have to dig deep into our pockets to look our best. Makeup artist to the stars and beauty editor Nicole Williams shares some of her best tricks and tips to help us stretch our beauty dollar.

    Double-purpose everyday kitchen ingredients

    Some of the cheapest beauty finds can be found right in your kitchen cabinets, starting with coconut oil, says Williams. "This is an amazing moisturizer for dry skin," she says. "It's all natural and great for shaving, too." The ingredient can also assist with weight loss, she says, because it contains fatty acids which help to speed up our body's metabolism.

    Olive oil is another natural ingredient we can use to safely and effectively moisturize the entire body, while cooking spray can help give dry legs a silky, smooth shine. It's not too heavy, either. "The general rule is, if you can eat it, you can put it on your skin

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