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  • Holiday Returns: What You Need to Know

    By Louis DeNicola,

    Gift giving and receiving is complicated and emotional. While the rising popularity of store gift cards and prepaid cards has lessened the worry about returns in the post-holiday frenzy, there often remains one present that doesn't warm your insides like the others. Or, you've received the same item twice because two relatives know you all too well. Regardless, deliver a big, heart-felt "thank you" and then figure out how to return or exchange the present.

    Related: Our comprehensive store return policies guide

    There's often nothing special about gift returns and exchanges at this time or year. Cheapism's return guide, which examines the return policies at 22 online and retail stores, shows only seven with special holiday return policies. Vendors that change their policies, such as Amazon, Sears, Target, and Walmart, often do so in a way that benefits shoppers. Most allow purchases made between the beginning of November and the end of December

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  • What to Buy in January

    By Raechel Conover,

    Did you spend too much on Christmas presents? Are Christmas gift cards burning a hole in your pocket? Regardless which side of the fence you fall on, frugal shoppers will find plenty to buy in January. This is an excellent month to stock up on items like linens or to make big purchases like a name-brand HDTV.

    Related: Top cheap LCD TVs under $600

    Now is the time to grab deals on holiday items.

    Christmas/Holiday Items and Winter Apparel. Starting the day after Christmas, prices on holiday items take a dive and continue to fall throughout January. By now you should be seeing prices at least as low as half off, but the selection is dwindling fast. Still, if you're deciding what to buy in January, consider stocking up on wrapping paper, ornaments, cards, and the like to stash away for next year.

    Likewise, winter apparel prices will also continue to fall in January, reaching deeper discounts from those in the after-Christmas sales. According to retailers' calendars, spring is right around the

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  • 3 Mouthwashes to Freshen Your Breath for New Year’s

    By Louis DeNicola,

    Related: Best inexpensive electric toothbrushes

    Do you suspect that people were a little wary of being caught under the mistletoe with you this year? They may have been too polite to mention it, but perhaps it was the extra garlic on the hors d'oeuvres. A quick step into the bathroom and a swish of mouthwash could have changed the situation quickly. And with New Year's kisses fast approaching, this is no time to be caught without a mouth-cleansing solution.

    Related: Budget lipstick reviews

    Many mouthwashes help prevent a number of nasty-sounding conditions such as gingivitis, periodontitis, xerostomia, and calculus (which refers to tartar, not math, although that would be great). Others are merely cosmetic; in other words, they do little more than fight off bad breath. Mouthwashes that do the double duty of cosmetic and therapeutic care are often more expensive. Some are prescription-only and all are regulated by the Food and Drug

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  • 10 Champagnes Under $20

    By Emily Lugg,

    Related: Best cheap red wines
    Related: Which cell phone carriers charge the lowest fees

    Pop the cork on a bottle of champagne and let the celebration begin. But there's no need to flatten your wallet to mark a special occasion. We found 10 champagnes costing $20 or less that garner comparable reviews to their more costly counterparts.

    More from Cheapism:
    Inexpensive holiday drink recipes
    What are the best LCD TVs under $500
    Best websites for cheap eyeglasses

    For more ways to save, follow Cheapism on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook.
    To stay on top of the latest posts, read the Cheapism Blog.

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  • How to Get the Most Out of Your Gift Cards

    By Tahirah Blanding,

    Gift cards may be the perfect gift: free money, in a sense, that is equivalent to a personal spending card. Few restrictions apply, so you can pretty much use gift cards when and how you want.

    Knowing whether the card is open-loop or closed-loop, though, will ensure you get the most out of your card. An open-loop gift card can be used at any store that accepts major credit cards issued by Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. A closed-loop gift card can be used only at specific stores or their partners.

    Related: What you need to know about holiday returns

    Learn how to get more out of your gift cards.

    Ease and flexibility aside, there are ways to get even more out of the gift card.

    Sell It. If you receive a gift card that you don't expect to use (or if you really need the cash), sell it. Several websites buy these cards, such as GiftCard Zen, Gift Card Rescue, and ABC Gift Cards. These websites are reliable, safe, and offer a pretty good buy-back price -- usually several

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  • Which is the Best Flash Sale Site?

    By Josue Ledesma,

    In the expanding world of online shopping, flash-sale websites are all the rage. These sites offer a variety of merchandise at heavily discounted prices. The catch? Sales usually last just 24 or 48 hours and product availability is limited. Items often sell out within hours, and customer complaints about service and shipping dog some of the e-vendors. Here are four best flash sale websites, ranked according to reviews and range of offerings.

    A quick note: The flash-sale sites discussed below offer deals to "members only," but there's nothing exclusive about them. Just provide your email address and you're welcome to browse and shop as you please.

    Related: Top inexpensive laptop computers

    1. Gilt Groupe. Gilt Groupe is a veteran among daily deals websites and one of the largest. Gilt sells discounted goods for women, men, kids, and home, as well as city deals for restaurants, retail shops, services, and events, and travel deals for hotels,

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  • 10 Defensive Shopping Tactics

    By Emily Lugg,

    One of the best ways to save money at the store is to never be caught unprepared. We've compiled a list of 10 defensive shopping tactics worth adopting before you step out the door for any shopping excursion.

    1. Stick to a list. Whether you're shopping for food, clothing, or home goods, always go in with a plan. It may take some time to prepare a list, but the investment will pay off. Sure, those shoes might look good with your new skirt or you may really like to own that movie that just came out on DVD, but if the item isn't on your list there's probably a reason it didn't make the cut in the first place.

    Related: 10 champagnes under $20

    2. Set a budget in advance. Set a spending budget for everything, from weekly groceries to birthday and holiday gifts, and keep an eye on the big picture, not just the isolated shopping trip. How much can you afford to spend on each niece's or nephew's birthdays? How much should you budget for your parents'

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  • 4 Best Stocking-Ready Headphones Under $15

    By Louis DeNicola,

    Related: Best cheap android tablets under $200

    Need a last-minute stocking stuffer? A pair of inexpensive headphones may be just the ticket. Although audiophiles will want something more powerful, most people are happy with a basic pair that keeps the music flowing. Earphones make the perfect companion on a run or at the gym, and it's always great to have an extra pair just in case.

    Related: Is Amazon always cheap(er)? has found four well-rated headphones available for less than $15. Three out of four are earbud-style in-ear headphones, which are lightweight and can easily be slipped into a pocket or bag, making them ideal for a smartphone or MP3 player. They also may help prevent outside noise from creeping in. One potential downside: The tips or pads that fit on the buds may fall off and get lost at some point. Extras are included with the earphones and come in different sizes to fit most anybody's ears.

    Related: Top

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  • 5 Digital Cameras for Under $100 for Christmas

    By Louis DeNicola,

    Flipping through old photo albums over the holidays brings joy, often laughter, and memories that have faded over time. These days many people use ever-present smartphones to capture the moment, but others may still prefer a dedicated digital camera. Even the cheap ones have features such as optical zoom, which most smartphones lack (instead they simulate the effect digitally). has highlighted a number of stocking-ready digital cameras available for less than $100.

    Related: Best tablets under $200

    Cameras at this price point can give more expensive models a run for their money in good light, although they tend to struggle when there's limited light available. Luckily, all the digital cameras Cheapism recommends come with optical image stabilization, which helps prevent blurriness in low-light images. All four also house 16-megapixel sensors and shoot 720p high-definition video.

    Related: Where to buy cheap(er) printer ink


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  • 10 Must-Have Items to Make Holiday Travel Easier

    By Raechel Conover,

    Related: Airlines with lowest baggage fees
    Related: Best cheap car rental companies

    Unless you're a flight attendant or pilot, you may not find airplane travel to be the most comfortable way to get around. And with the holidays looming, the experience may be fraught with still more crowds and unpleasantness. We found 10 cheap items to carry on board that can ease the pain of flying.

    Related: Best cruise ships for under $75 a night

    As a general rule of thumb, airline travel is rarely hassle-free. Expect it, deal with it, and move on. It helps tremendously to have a positive attitude and to be polite and cheerful to those around you. This can go a long way towards making the experience more comfortable for everyone. Better yet, it's free.

    More from Cheapism:
    Best sites for finding cheap travel
    4 ultra cheap tablets under $100

    For more ways to save, follow Cheapism on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook.
    To stay on top of the latest posts,

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