Blog Posts by Cheapism.com

  • Which Online Retailers Charge Sales Tax in Your State?

    By Louis DeNicola, Cheapism.com

    The Internet has made it so easy to sit home and shop. You can click on hundreds of online stores, browse categories, read gift guides, and find coupon codes. Some shoppers buy online because it�s a way to dodge taxes and save a few bucks. Depending where you live and which online store you buy from, you may avoid the sales tax blues.

    Some state laws require retailers to collect sales tax on orders shipped into those states where they have a physical presence. This includes merchants with both online and offline platforms, such as Walmart, and online-only retailers like Amazon that have warehouses or fulfillment centers in a given state. A New York State law enacted in 2008 that spurred a series of court battles highlights the importance of affiliates ( referring partners and third-party sellers) in the sales tax equation. This and similar statutes dubbed "Amazon laws" enacted elsewhere require online vendors to collect sales tax in states

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  • Best Ereaders Below $100 to Put Under the Tree

    By Louis DeNicola, Cheapism.com

    Related: Best laptops under $500

    Even among young people 16 to 24 -- a group with an undeniable affinity for electronic devices -- 62 percent prefer printed books to the electronic variety, according to a recently published study by British marketing agency Voxburner. That being said, ereaders make popular presents because they're lightweight, convenient, and can easily store hundreds of books at once. Ereaders are fairly inexpensive as well; the initial investment can sometimes cost less than $60 during special sales and ebooks are often cheaper than paper versions of the same book.

    Related: Holiday shipping comparison: FedEx, UPS, & USPS

    Cheapism.com has browsed the shelves to find three top ereaders available for less than $100. They all last weeks before the battery needs to be recharged and use E Ink technology to prevent eye strain. They can connect to the Internet using a wireless signal to download new books (some ereaders also use

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  • 10 Wines for Under $10: A Taste Test

    By Elizabeth Sheer, Cheapism.com

    Wine is always appreciated as a hostess gift, but finding one that costs less than $10 while being drinkable is a challenge. We consulted several experts and held tastings to discover the five best budget red wines and five best budget white wines that you could serve with confidence. What you sacrifice at this price point is depth and nuance -- these wines probably wouldn't satisfy wine connoisseurs -- but they make for adequate table wines and help keep holiday parties joyous.

    Related: Best cheap red wines buying guide and recommendations

    Cheap Red Wines. Look to South America for some excellent deals on red table wines, says wine merchant Ed Domaney of Domaney's in Great Barrington, MA. He is particularly keen on Malbecs.

    Callia Alta Malbec

    At his suggestion, we tried the 2011 vintage of Callia Alta Malbec (about $9/bottle), which held up well with our tasters who found it "exceedingly drinkable." While a few said it tasted a bit sweet, that proved to be a

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  • Where Can Your Kids Eat for Free?

    By Raechel Conover, Cheapism.com

    As a parent, you're probably familiar with this routine: You're at a restaurant and your child is squirming, saying "I'm hungry," asking for bread or a snack from your bag. You order a meal from the kids' menu, but when the food arrives your child decides he's not hungry and doesn't take a single bite, or maybe one bite and pushes the plate away, pronouncing "all done." Well, terrific -- might as well throw $5 in the trash. On the flip side, you don't order a meal and this is the night he decides to eat -- and polishes off most of your meal, leaving you to walk out hungry.

    Related: Best inexpensive family restaurants guide

    Find out how to get free meals for kids. id=

    Maybe it's just my picky eater, although I doubt that. It's likely that many frugal parents think paying for a kid's meal at a restaurant is a waste of money. But there are times when you want or need to eat out. What's the work-around? Just head for restaurants that welcome kids with a free meal.

    Rules. The rules are few and mostly

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  • How to Find or Fill a Holiday Gift Basket Under $25

    By Elizabeth Sheer, Cheapism.com

    Everybody loves getting a gift basket, filled as it is with many small things. At holiday time retailers often bundle together similar products to make gift-giving more efficient and perhaps sell a bit more along the way. Inexpensive gift baskets also are suitable for recipients you don't know very well but must acknowledge with more than a trifle -- think clients, customers, distant relatives, and the like.

    Related: Where to get inexpensive holiday cards

    Holiday Drum Roll Gift Basket

    But even if intended for those near and dear, it's hard to go wrong with a cheap gift basket. One of the more appealing aspects of such offerings is that they deliver more than a fleeting presence. The basket itself can be repurposed in a variety of ways and may have contained a bag, tray, mug, or some other item that can be used indefinitely; baskets filled with food can be enjoyed at leisure.

    Gift baskets are often food-oriented and tend to be pricey. Locating one that costs less than

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  • College Students: Get Your Finances Square Next Semester

    By Louis DeNicola, Cheapism.com

    For many college students, winter break is a much anticipated time to relax after the hours spent bent over books and keyboards during finals. Whether the start of the next semester is keenly anticipated or dreaded, one common stressor is certain: A tuition bill will arrive soon.

    Get your college tuition and expenses covered for the new year.

    The deadline for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) is long past and students have received their aid allotments, but it's not the end of the road for those who need more financial assistance for the second half of the school year. Students who have experienced hardships since the application was turned in (an illness or the loss of a job, for example) or simply believe they will be unable to continue without additional help should consider writing a letter of appeal to the school's financial aid office. The University of Northwestern Ohio has prepared a sample letter that some students may find helpful. There is no guarantee that additional aid will be

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  • Dress for Less: Where to Rent Party Clothes

    By Louis DeNicola, Cheapism.com

    Ugly sweater parties aside, the holidays are filled with dinners and soirees that demand formal attire. What with wish lists in one hand and travel bills in the other, there's precious little left in the budget for guys and gals who want to show off new duds. The solution may lie in a rental. Renting designer clothing for a special evening is an easy way to save a buck and/or dress like a million. We identified several businesses that cater to such aspirations.

    Related: Which is the cheapest carrier: UPS, Fedex or the Post Office?

    Find a snazzy outfit for an upcoming holiday party.

    There are pros and cons to renting eveningwear. On the plus side, past users say they've enjoyed the experience of wearing something they'd never be able to afford, the knowledge that they're being a little "green" by reusing clothing, and the absence of closet clutter created by items worn just once or twice. Moreover, dresses arrive cleaned and pressed, and renters in a hurry can usually choose one- or two-day shipping.

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  • Cheapest Holiday Shipping: FedEx, UPS, or the Post Office?

    By Louis DeNicola, Cheapism.com

    For many consumers, Santa's sleigh takes the form of a white or brown truck, and gifts arrive by way of the doorstep rather than the chimney. FedEx, UPS, and the U.S. Postal Service all promise to whisk a package shipped today across the country in time to go under a tree tomorrow. But can they do it without blowing your holiday budget? Cheapism obtained rate quotes for a variety of services from all three providers and, in almost every case, the Postal Service proved the cheapest option.

    Related: Which store has the best price-matching-policy?

    Take, for example, a 5-pound package going to San Francisco from New York. In its search for cheap shipping, Cheapism found that overnight service would cost more than $80 for delivery by 3 p.m. and more than $90 for delivery by 10:30 a.m. with either FedEx or UPS. In contrast, the Post Office will ship the same package with guaranteed overnight delivery for $39.95-$56, depending whether a flat-rate box isRead More »from Cheapest Holiday Shipping: FedEx, UPS, or the Post Office?
  • What to Buy and Not to Buy in December

    By Raechel Conover, Cheapism.com

    Holiday shopping is in full swing and it seems as though Black Friday deals will never end. Smart consumers know, however, that just because everything appears to be on sale this month doesn't mean this is the moment to purchase certain items. What then, should you buy in December? The answer: toys, select electronics, select home goods, some Christmas goods, wedding dresses, and real estate. Although you may be in a splurging frame of mind, don't get sucked into deals on a gym membership, jewelry, or watches.

    Related: Top cheap android tablets under $200

    Toys are best bought after mid-month.

    Toys. Toys may be on sale right now, but rushing out today to buy all the goodies that will go under the holiday tree doesn't make sense. The best toy deals of the year are yet to come. The two weeks leading up to Christmas see the deepest toy discounts, so hold off before hitting up the toy store.

    Electronics. Electronics -- digital cameras, tablets, laptops, TVs and the like are a big

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  • Black Friday 2013 Store Hours

    By Louis DeNicola, Cheapism.com

    Plan ahead for the biggest shopping day of the year!Each year Black Friday store hours start earlier and earlier, and this year is no different. The creep has even spread to the early morning hours of Thanksgiving Day. No matter the opening time, plan to arrive early to ensure you get the best Black Friday deals. For some retailers and some items, this means getting in line at least two hours prior to the doors opening or the beginning of a sales event.

    Following is a roundup of Black Friday store hours for the major chains to help you map out your shopping plan.

    Related: Best Black Friday apps to score deals

    Thanksgiving Day (November 28, 2013) This year Black Friday shopping might rightly be called something else -- Grey Thursday, perhaps? -- as some retailers invite shoppers to spend all night filling their baskets. Here's a sample of opening hours on Thanksgiving Day:

    6am

    • Kmart -- Open through 11pm on Nov. 29

    9am

    • Old Navy -- Closed from 4pm until 7pm
    • Gap, Inc -- Closed from 4pm until 7pm

    5pm

    • Toys R Us
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