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  • How to Book Cheap Hotels for the Holidays

    By Louis DeNicola,

    Planning to visit family for the holidays and the guest room isn't an option? Now is the time to start looking for cheap holiday accommodations. If you only need a place to spend the night, Cheapism has already identified the best cheap hotel chains. But if you're keen on more upscale lodgings, here are some tips on finding affordable hotel rooms during the holiday season.

    Related: Best inexpensive hotel chains

    Forget the usual tactics. As many frugal travelers know, the best offers pop up when occupancy rates are low. This circumstance may present itself to folks visiting cities checkered with hotels that cater to business travelers and run promotions during the otherwise slow holiday season. But the usual array of money-saving tips may prove useless during the holidays. Waiting until the last minute to snatch cheap holiday accommodations from hotels eager to fill empty rooms often fails at this time of year. Discount-rate sites such as

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  • How to Get 2013's Top Holiday Toys for Less

    By Louis DeNicola,

    In mid-September Toys R Us is expected to release its annual round-up of the top 50 toys for the 2013 holiday season, complete with a highlighted Fabulous 15. If past years are an indication of what's to come, the list will likely include dolls, video games, construction sets, and remote control vehicles. History has also shown that hot toy prices are hot -- often $50 or so, with several approaching or surpassing $100. Clearly, the cost of filling up stockings and wrapping boxes for a posse of kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews mounts quickly, so finding deals on the hot toys of the season, or simply avoiding price gauging, is imperative.

    Related: Inexpensive kids toys recommendations

    The official kick-off for the holiday shopping season on Black Friday seems like the perfect opportunity to grab deals on kids' toys. But don't count on it. When Deal News compared 2011 and 2012 prices with the previous year, the researchers found that waiting

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  • Looking for Cheap Holiday Travel? Book Airfare Now

    By Louis DeNicola,

    Headed home for the holidays or perhaps leaving home to visit family? In either case the question of when to lock in cheap holiday airfare is always a hot topic. There are a number of rules and tips flying around the Internet faster than a Concord: Book on a Tuesday or Wednesday (maybe a good idea). Clear your cookies or search in private browser mode (probably only matters if you're doing a lot of searches in one day). Book X number of days before the flight (is that 7, 14, or 21 days, or more like 6 weeks?).

    Related: Best cheap airlines to fly

    Get a grip on a good price for the upcoming holidays.

    The problem is, airline ticket prices fluctuate daily and sometimes by the hour. Numerous factors affect airfare and each analyst weighs them differently, which helps explain why a study by Kayak showing 21 days prior to flying is the best time to buy a ticket doesn't match's conclusion that 49 days is the real number. Both results were announced within months of each other and used

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  • Are You Paying for Breastfeeding Support when You Don't Have To?

    By Raechel Conover,

    A new baby, second time around: I was determined to nurse and knew that I needed breastfeeding support. I began my research and quickly discovered the high cost of breast pumps and lactation consultant fees. Then I learned that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) offers a work-around. In the end, the new health care law helped me obtain breastfeeding support and saved me more than $400. Getting the support I needed and was entitled to, however, proved to be quite a challenge.

    The biggest hurdles faced by would-be nursing moms like me: The law is vague, insurance and medical providers are sometimes uninformed and sometimes pursue the cheapest forms of compliance, and many women lack the knowledge and the energy to wade through all the uncertainties.

    Related: Budget breast pumps buying guide

    My insurance company initially indicated it would cover the full cost of whichever breast pump my doctor prescribed. I called each of the eight durable medical equipment

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  • How to Save on Your Fall Wardrobe

    By Tahirah Blanding,

    The fall season can be financially stressful, what with back-to-school spending and the upcoming holidays. No doubt you and the family need some new clothing, including pricey duds like coats and boots. We identified five strategies to help you save on your fall wardrobe.

    Buy Gently Used Apparel. You may be a little hesitant to buy second-hand clothing due to concerns about the quality and cleanliness of worn garments. However, most used clothing stores are quite diligent about checking items and ensuring that they are truly gently used. Used clothing stores often sell high-quality, brand-name apparel for extremely discounted prices, sometimes up to 75 percent off the original tag, which can save you tons on your fall wardrobe.

    Related: Inexpensive digital camera reviews

    Play up a fall palette.Thrift stores are an obvious go-to source for budget clothing buys. Goodwill is a well-known and readily accessible option, and many communities support at least one Read More »from How to Save on Your Fall Wardrobe
  • Top Free Job Sites for Starting Your Search

    By Louis DeNicola,

    With children across the country going back to school and family vacationers getting back into the work routine, now may be a great time to put the finishing touches on a resume and apply for a new job. Although the August jobs report released last week was generally considered disappointing, the Labor Department found that American employers continued to add jobs and the unemployment rate slid downward. That begs the question: "Where do I find one of these 169,000 new jobs?" Internet job boards are the first place many job seekers turn. They're easy to come by but can be difficult to navigate, and some charge for access.

    Related: Best laptops under $500

    Find your dream career with a free job search website. has surveyed the field and recommends two sites to help those on the hunt. Both are free and easy to use and offer access to thousands of job openings.

    Indeed isn't a job board per se, but many reviewers assert that it's even better. Think of it as a search engine for job sites.

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  • What to Grow in Your Fall Vegetable Garden

    By Tahirah Blanding,

    Temperatures may be dropping but there's still plenty to enjoy in a fall vegetable garden. A few dollars and some extra time is all you need to plant a variety of edibles. Whereas fruit plants require particular care and take quite a while to mature (years, in the case of bushes and trees), some vegetables are best grown during the fall because of their affinity for cool weather and quick turnaround time.

    Related: Inexpensive leaf blower reviews

    Fall into fall with these garden vegetables.

    All of the fall favorites are cheap to purchase and easy to grow. The maximum harvest time for fall vegetables is up to three months, but some seeds, such as radish, are ready in no time (that would be about 30 days). Plant, bulb, and seed packets cost as little as $1 and yield copious crops. Herbs are also popular and tasty additions to a fall garden; garlic and basil, for example, thrive during cooler months.

    Remember, though, that the ultimate success of a fall garden depends in large part on

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  • Online Tutorials: Where Can You Find Free (and Accurate) Guides?

    By Louis DeNicola,

    When looking for a simple answer about how to do something, look no further than free online tutorials. Maybe you're trying to assemble a piece of furniture, tie a tie, or figure out what a roux is (a flour and butter mixture used as a thickening agent in sauces). Your first impulse may be to reach out to friends and family as trusted sources of information, but what to do when they don't know? The wiseguy friend who sends you a link to aside, turning to online communities for answers can be the most efficient path to enlightenment. But which sites with free online tutorials are both useful and trustworthy? We found a few, as well as one you might want to skip over.

    Related: Best inexpensive laptop computers

    There's a plethora of information available online.

    YouTube. More than just an endless stream of music videos and cats jumping into boxes, YouTube is an amazing source for how-to guides and free walk-through videos. Even niche requests often garner thousands of responses. For

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  • Best VoIP Services for Cheap or Free Long-Distance Calls

    By Louis DeNicola,

    Long-distance service is expensive. With a standard landline, per-minute costs can add up quickly, especially for international calls. Voice over Internet protocol, better known as VoIP, provides a way to make heavily discounted or even free calls. Some services require a computer or smartphone, but others simply use an adapter to connect a traditional phone and a modem.

    Related: Best Cheap laptops for 2013

    Save money on long distance calls with VOIP. highlights four VoIP services that allow users to make cheap or free nationwide and international calls:

    Skype, which celebrated its 10th anniversary last week, is one well-known option available in the form of software and apps for computers, tablets, and smartphones. Skype-to-Skype calls are always free. For about $3 per month, subscribers can make unlimited calls to landlines and mobile phones in the U.S. and Canada. Unlimited international plans are also available. To receive calls from conventional phones, users must

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  • What to Buy in September

    By Raechel Conover,

    Put big-ticket items on your buy-in-September list. With the first cool winds of fall come sales on major consumer products. The Labor Day holiday presents the best discounts on select items until Black Friday rolls around in November. Here are the September deals to look for:

    Grab deals on bedding.

    Mattresses, Bed, and Bath Supplies. Labor Day sales kick off the action early in the month. This is one of those holidays when mattress retailers offer deep discounts on piled-up inventory. You may also find some better-than-normal deals on bed and bath supplies, such as linens and towels, during Labor Day sales and throughout the month.

    Related: Cheap airlines to fly

    Planes, Bikes, and Automobiles. Looking for a cheap mode of transportation? September ranks high when it comes to snagging low prices on holiday airfare, a bicycle, or a car. Life Hacker recommends buying plane tickets about eight weeks prior to your travel date. September puts you a bit more than eight

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