Blog Posts by Cheapism.com

  • How to Enjoy Football Season on a Budget

    By Raechel Conover, Cheapism.com

    It's kickoff time and what better way to celebrate football season than to be frugally festive? Tailgate parties, fan gear, and even game-day tickets don't need to deflate your wallet. We discovered bargain techniques to help fill your football-on-a-budget needs without any costly penalty flags.

    Cheap Tailgating. Tailgating is essential to any game-day gathering. By definition, tailgating is cheap. But you can still shave prices and do so in style.

    Related: Best savings: Sam's or Costco?

    One strategy is to host bigger bashes and save on bulk meats from a club store, such as Sam's Club or Costco. A cheap grill comes in handy for those tailgating bashes and September happens to be the right month to find good deals on grills. Finger foods are customary on game day, which means utensil costs are almost nonexistent. But you'll still need paper products like napkins, paper plates, and cups, so check out the local dollar store or club store if

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  • Protect Your Data from Prying Eyes for Less

    By Louis DeNicola, Cheapism.com

    It's surprisingly easy for just about anyone to sit in a coffee shop and snoop on others' activity. That's why an extra layer of security, like a virtual private network (VPN), is critical for browsing on an open Wi-Fi network, especially when visiting password-protected sites. Fortunately, installing a VPN maintained by any of the reputable service providers is simple and cheap.

    Keep your data private from prying eyes.

    Related: Cheap laptops buying guide

    What is a VPN and how does it work? VPNs create a secure tunnel between the user's computer and an established network or between the computer and a "proxy server" that leads to the outside world. Data (e.g., passwords, location, financial or health records) sent through this tunnel are encrypted and can't be accessed by prying eyes. VPNs are used by business travelers who need a secure connection with the main office network and increasingly by private users who seek the same level of security just because. Setting up a VPN on a

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  • Best Budget Cases to Keep Your IPad Safe

    By Louis DeNicola, Cheapism.com

    It's rare to see someone on the street with an iPad outside a case or without a cover. Cases let owners add a personal touch to the popular tablet while lessening the fear that a slip or ding will ruin the expensive device.

    Related: Cheap digital camera reviews

    The Apple Smart Cover ($39) is perhaps one of the most common ways to shield an iPad. It protects the screen but doesn't wrap around the back or the edges to cushion a potentially shattering impact. Cheapism.com recommends other covers near the same price point that offer similar screen protection but also additional armor for the back and corners. And unlike a sleeve, the recommended cases safeguard the iPad when it's in use, not just at rest or in transport.

    Keep your investment protected with an iPad case.

    Here are the three top picks:

    The STM Skinny for iPad (starting at $35) is, as the name implies, a slim and lightweight case, which online reviewers like because it keeps a low profile. This case has a tongue-and-loop closure

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  • Why Now is the Time to Sell Your IPhone

    By Louis DeNicola, Cheapism.com

    For iPhone owners who plan to upgrade after Apple's Sept. 10 media event, now is the moment to start looking at where and how to sell their current phones. Experts familiar with the resale market warn that the value of a current iPhone 5 will drop dramatically in the weeks to come. Anyone who wishes to upgrade to the iPhone 5, on the other hand, need only bide their time to get a bargain.

    Related: Best smartphones for a penny or less

    iPhone 5 is on its way out.

    We spoke with Nik Ramen, chief operating officer and co-founder of uSell, a service that connects sellers to a network of professional buyers, to gather some inside tips on selling an iPhone. His first point: Lock in a price right away. USell's data from previous iPhone releases show that the current edition loses 5 percent of its value in the first week following the new edition's launch, 12 percent by the second week, and 20 percent by the third or fourth week.

    Jeff Trachsel, chief marketing officer of

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  • Decorate like a Pro -- for Cheap

    By Raechel Conover, Cheapism.com

    Decorating a home can cost a fortune, especially if you go to big-name retailers to replicate the look in glossy magazines. But today we bring you some tips and tricks to help get your home looking stylish without spending more than you should.

    Paint and Color Consultants. Paint is relatively inexpensive and can drastically transform and update a room. But which color to choose? You can solve this dilemma by calling on a color consultant. If you think color consultants are too rich for your budget, think again. Many Sherwin Williams stores will send a color consultant to your home when you purchase a $75 gift card (check your local Sherwin Williams for availability). This service is essentially free because you use the gift card to purchase the agreed-upon Sherwin Williams paint. Other paint purveyors offer similar deals or charge very low rates for a color consultation. This home decorating tip is all the rage right now so don't be shy about

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  • Google Video Streaming Device: A Bargain at $35?

    By Michael Sweet, Cheapism.com

    Google's new Chromecast is an intriguing little device that's been getting a lot of attention lately. It's essentially a set-top box squeezed down to the size of a USB thumb drive that can stream video directly to an HDTV. Chromecast's biggest selling point is its mere $35 cost, a price that seems to have hit the sweet spot with consumers perfectly. The device is sold out at Amazon and Best Buy, and it may be weeks before more are available. This little gizmo is worth the wait, though, and here's why.

    Related: Best cheap android tablets

    Chromecast Features. Chromecast is a pretty straightforward gadget. Once it's connected to your TV, you can use it to stream videos directly from Netflix, YouTube, or Google's library of TV shows and movies. You can also stream videos indirectly to the TV using a PC or laptop. Whenever you play a video in Google's Chrome web browser, you can send that video to your TV, which means you can watch video from any

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  • 5 Cheap or Free Activities for Grandparent's Day

    By Raechel Conover, Cheapism.com

    Celebrate Grandparent's Day on September 8 by spending multi-generational quality time together. Here are several ideas for things kids can do for grandparents, grandparents can do for kids, and grandparents and grandkids can do together. All are either cheap or free.

    Related: Inexpensive digital camera recommendations

    Teach the Grandkids Something. What do you remember learning from a grandparent? I remember my grandfather teaching me how to skip, a simple memory that always makes me smile. Creating such memories with grandkids on Grandparent's Day can be joyous. Maybe there's a favorite recipe you can prepare with your grandchildren or introduce them to a treasured hobby. The point, really, is not what they learn but how they learn it and how it becomes part of their history, something to recall later in life. And you don't have to spend much, if any, money to do this.

    Celebrate Grandparent's Day!

    Organize Family Photos. As a child I loved going through my grandparents' store of

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  • What's in Your Kid's Diaper?

    By Raechel Conover, Cheapism.com

    Cloth diapers versus disposable diapers -- the debate rages on. Many factors affect the choice of one over the other as parents wrestle with questions like: Which is easiest and most cost effective? Which will be best for the baby? And for a certain cohort, which is better for the environment?

    There's no one right answer for every family. In an effort to provide some guidance for the perplexed, we queried a non-random sample of mothers and poked around on the Internet for a few facts. Here is what we learned:

    Cloth Diapers. Cloth diapers have been used on babies for hundreds of years but now bear the unmistakable markings of the 21st century. There's not only a profusion of brands but an assortment of styles. Parents.com identifies the four most popular types of cloth diapers: pre-fold (thicker layer in center, used inside plastic pants or as insert), pocket (two layers sandwiching a pocket for absorbent insert, a.k.a. soaker), fitted (absorbent all

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  • 4 Best USB Flash Drives for Less Than $20

    By Louis DeNicola, Cheapism.com

    Although cloud storage is easy to come by these days, sometimes USB flash drives (also known as jump drives or thumb drives) are more convenient. Whether you're looking to keep a physical backup of important files, transfer a file to a computer in an Internet dead zone, or drop off a document at a store for printing, one of these small storage devices can serve as a vessel. What's more, gone are the days of expensive 1- or 2-gigabyte thumb drives. Consumers can now buy 16GB of storage for less than $20.

    Related: Top smartphones for a penny or less

    Cheap USB Flash Drives

    Here are four top picks from Cheapism.com:

    The Adata S102 Pro (starting at $14 for 16GB) features a sleek, aluminum body and USB 3.0 technology, which promises faster transfer speeds than the USB 2.0 connections common on older devices. Online reviewers marvel at how quickly it copies their files considering the low cost. We priced out the 16GB version for comparison, but this flash drive ranges

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  • How to Save on Household Energy Costs

    By Louis DeNicola, Cheapism.com

    Saving money on energy costs and/or reducing a household's environmental footprint are important to many consumers. We identified several ways to achieve these ends.

    The first is with Enervee, a website that rank orders the energy use of appliances and electrical devices. An Enervee Score differs from the well-known Energy Star certification, which signals a given model meets established criteria, by indicating the energy efficiency of a machine relative to the competition. The score incorporates a variety of data supplied by manufacturers, government agencies, and third-party test companies and ranges from 1 to 100; it changes when new products are brought to market, so a score of 95 for a refrigerator may drop to 93 when a more efficient model is released.

    Related: Cheap energy efficient appliance buying guide

    Enervee

    Launched three summers ago by Matthias Kurwig and Don Epperson, Enervee aims to help consumers make more informed energy-saving

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